With governments and entrepreneurs in the Gulf in spending mood, Dubai air show from 11 to 15 November will not be short of order announcements.

From airline board directors through top military brass to business owners seeking a corporate aircraft, the Dubai air show probably attracts a wider mix of end-users of aerospace products than any other industry event, giving it a different profile to traditional "industry" shows like Paris and Farnborough.

Given the spending power in the region, it is little surprise then that the show, from 11-15 November at the Dubai Airport Expo, has grown three-fold since its inception in 1989, with almost 900 exhibitors and floorspace up by a third since the previous show in 2005.

In fact, the show has outgrown its home. This will be the last at the city's downtown international airport. From 2009, organiser Fairs & Exhibitions will move to Dubai World Central at Jebel Ali, a vast site 30 minutes from Dubai being turned from an expanse of desert into the world's biggest aviation hub.

For now, the show must still jostle for space alongside the dozens of Emirates and other carriers' Airbuses and Boeings at the increasingly-crowded airport.

Despite this, the modern exhibition halls, permanent chalet line and lack of crowds - despite the reasonably compact site - deliver for exhibitors and trade visitors one of the more bearable air show experiences.

Dubai's joined-up way of running things means there is little conflict (visible at any rate) between show organisers, civil aviation department, airport and government.

While the region's robust, if not spectacular, defence budgets continue to make the showfairly defence-oriented, it is the demand for business aviation and airline services - from pilot training and recruitment to parts supply and maintenance, repair and overhaul - that is driving the growth.

This year's show will have 130 new exhibitors - accounting for a tenth of the floorspace.

Business aircraft manufacturers Eclipse and Grob both make their debut. Many local start-ups will appear for the first time too, including Abu Dhabi corporate helicopter operator Falcon Aviation and the new aerospace division of Abu Dhabi investment giant Mubadala, which has already taken stakes in several big industry names, including SR Technics and Piaggio Aerospace.


Source: Flight International