Mike Martin

The weather was rather like that of an average English summer, only with much less rain.

That there was rain at all was a surprise in the Gulf, but it did not presage another 'desert storm' further to the north.

Military matters remain a big talking point, with the French, British and Americans battling it out over the UAE's future fighter requirement.

The memory of the Gulf War lingers. There came a reminder of the conflict with electronics companies gearing up to rebuild Kuwait's military command infrastructure.

No show would be complete without Boeing and Airbus Industrie continuing the loudest debate since Mohammed Ali and Sonny Liston.

Boeing arrived, the size of the planet and undisputed number one in the aerospace business.

The way things are going, it might not be long before they roll up the Dubai, Singapore, Paris and Farnborough shows and hold just one- in Seattle.

Airbus is on a roll too, tantalisingly close to the full launch of its A340-500/600 models. It also announced deals.

Most poignant was the first high-profile appearance of Saab Aircraft at Dubai, and the announcement of a good order, but nobody knows whether the company will be at the next air show.

The dignity of the Saab folk in adversity is a lesson to us all. Their gift to visitors to their chalet- Worry beads.

There was irony in the fact that the world's longest airliner, the Boeing 777-300 in Cathay Pacific livery, should appear at the show when Cathay has just launched super-cheap deals to Hong Kong because the tourist industry has collapsed. Let's hope it was a stroke of timely planning.

There was some irritation at press conferences at the ubiquitous cellphones, never switched off, which sounded like a chorus of hyperactive songbirds.

The instruments of communication can end up hampering communication.

The local system collapsed through overload halfway through the show.

On the ground, the hospitality of the Arab world was as brilliant as ever, making the Dubai show the warmest of them all.

Source: Flight Daily News