November’s Dubai air show represents a reboot for aerospace. Anticipation is high ahead of what will be the industry’s first multi-sector gathering since Covid-19 all but shut the skies for passenger flights in March 2020.
And fresh starts will be very much the key theme of the event. The US-brokered Abraham Accords of August 2020 – the recognition of Israel by the UAE and other Gulf states – has led to moves unthinkable just two years ago. They include the USA clearing Abu Dhabi to purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters, after a past flirtation with two European-built types, the Eurofighter and Dassault Rafale. The detente has also spawned industrial partnerships and air links between the major cities of Israel and the Gulf for the first time.
EDGE, the UAE’s new consolidated defence house, is taking the next steps on its ambitious growth path, two years after being unveiled. We take a look at the region’s business aviation sector – enjoying a strong rebound in Dubai particularly, as an open economy, hot property market, and the Expo attract international visitors and investors.
And what next for the Gulf’s global connectors, whose wings were clipped severely by the pandemic? They also face deeper challenges after a decade of supercharged growth. We examine the prospects for Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, as well as the region’s smaller carriers, as they begin the process of rebuilding.
During the show, which begins on 14 November, we will be bringing you news and analysis as it happens.
Enterprise Ireland and IATA present the Air Transport and Market Trends & Outlook Report for the Middle East and Africa, providing valuable, data-driven insight into the aviation industry. This report examines the impact of the pandemic on the global air transport industry and takes a closer look at the developments in the Middle East and Africa regions. Having come through one of the most turbulent years in the history of aviation, the industry globally is now beginning to get a glimpse of the horizon. International travel continues to be a challenge in 2021, but domestic passenger traffic is set to see an early recovery. The remainder of 2021 should remain positive for air cargo, as rebounding economies and inventory restocking drive growth. Paid content by Enterprise Ireland
Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke says private spaceflight encourages smaller firms to think big and develop technologies the whole world could benefit from in future.
Lockheed Martin is advancing with work on the first F-16V to be built on its new final assembly line in Greenville, South Carolina, and is confident of securing further fresh business for the world’s most widely-used fighter.
Organisers and visitors alike will be hoping that the biennial Dubai air show has bookended the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, proving the maxim that ‘timing is everything’.
Bell is open to moving production of certain of its current military helicopters to customer countries should its V-280 Valor be selected to replace the US Army’s fleet of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks.
The China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) and MRO firm GAL have opened a support centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark does not expect there to be any structural change to travel demand citing the strong take-up from passengers in the markets it has so far been able restores services to since the pandemic.
Latvia-based Air Baltic made it through its home country’s recent four-week lockdown without adjusting its capacity – or its plans for an IPO in the coming years.
Airbus has created a separate legal entity to lead the development of its CityAirbus NextGen electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle, the airframer has disclosed, and has also revealed the first suppliers to join the effort.
Another great day packed with the most extraordinary showcase of the latest trends in aviation, stunning aircraft displays both in the air and on the ground, hours of insightful sessions with industry experts and high value networking — all happening at the world’s greatest airshow this year! Video and caption from Dubai Airshow Youtube
Turboprop manufacturer ATR cites the boom in e-commerce and airline fleet modernisation as key drivers of what it sees as improving demand.
Avionics specialist Collins Aerospace is to collaborate with Australian-based vision technology firm Seeing Machines to explore the use of eye-tracking systems to reduce pilot fatigue risk.
Lockheed Martin has performed the first flight of a C-130J for Germany, as fresh sales opportunities look set to enable it to extend production of the tactical transport for the next decade-plus.
Dubai-based hotel and resort group Five is acquiring an Airbus A220 business jet from Switzerland’s Comlux Group.
Major commitments for Airbus aircraft from airline investor Indigo Partners for its low-cost carriers and Air Lease, as well as from Indian start-up Akasa Air for Boeing Max 8s drove the bulk of the more than 500 aircraft order and option commitments announced during the first three days of the Dubai air show.
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark describes as a “work in progress” efforts to pin down a firm delivery date for its delayed Boeing 777-9s and braced to wait for nine months to a year before the manufacturer is able to give a definitive date amid the ongoing certification process.
Rolls-Royce continues to progress the development of different electrical power systems as the UK-headquartered firm eyes future aerospace applications for its technology.
Emirates is to retrofit over a 100 of its widebodies with premium economy seats as part of wider cabin upgrade moves which could include a new business class product on its Boeing 777s.
Nigerian carrier Ibom Air has signed a firm order for 10 Airbus A220s.
Azerbaijan’s Silk Way West Airlines has reached an agreement with Rolls-Royce under which the manufacturer will supply replacement engines for the cargo carrier’s RB211-powered Boeing 747 fleet.
Maintenance house Sabena Technics is teaming with Leonardo to market the Italian company’s UK-manufactured Miysis directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) to VIP aircraft operators in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.
Indian start up carrier Akasa Air has placed firm orders for 72 Boeing 737 Max aircraft including some for the higher-density Max 8-200 version.
EDGE and Embraer are in talks about integrating weapons systems from the Abu Dhabi defence house’s Halcon subsidiary on the A-29 Super Tucano military trainer and counter-insurgency aircraft.
Air Senegal is to acquire five Airbus A220-300s under a lease agreement with a division of Macquarie AirFinance.
Turboprop manufacturer ATR has secured an order for three ATR 72-600s from Gabon-based Afrijet as well as preliminary commitment from Japanese start-up Toki Air for two ATR 42s.
Kuwaiti low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways has sealed a memorandum of understanding for 20 Airbus A320neos and eight A321neos.
Air Tanzania has placed an order for an additional Boeing 787-8, a pair of 737 Max aircraft and a 767-300 freighter.
Boeing Capital has secured a sale agreement with Sky One FZE for three Rolls-Royce powered Boeing 777-300s.
Etihad Airways and Airbus will collaborate on sustainability efforts under a programme that will use the carrier’s A350-1000 jets in the style of Boeing’s Greenliner initiative, they announced at Dubai air show on 15 November.
Embraer’s defence unit is enjoying a busy Dubai air show, with Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro among those to have received a tour of its KC-390 tanker/transport.
With the United Arab Emirates (UAE) having secured US approval to buy 50 Lockheed Martin F-35As almost one year ago, many at the Dubai air show will be surprised to see the fifth-generation type present only in the guise of a full-scale replica.
ATR is to re-engine its 42- and 72-600 twin-turboprops with a new update of the PW127 powerplant and has secured long-term operator Air Corsica as launch customer with an order for five aircraft.
US lessor Air Lease has become the launch customer for the Airbus A350 freighter, agreeing to take seven of the type as part of a large order for 111 Airbus jets.
Air Baltic is expecting to end 2022 with 40 A220-300s in its fleet as it emerges from the Covid-19 crisis firmly committed to life as a single-type operator.
Rolls-Royce has dropped another strong hint that the UK manufacturer is seeking a return to the narrowbody engine market that it abandoned in 2011 when exiting the International Aero Engines consortium.
Embraer is looking at options for a freighter conversion programme for its E-Jets after identifying increased demand for smaller cargo aircraft as a result of the boom in e-commerce.
Middle Eastern carrier Emirates is signing up for Israel Aerospace Industries’ Boeing 777-300ER freighter conversion programme, with a commitment to modify four aircraft.
Nigerian operator Overland Airways has placed a firm order for three Embraer 175 regional jets and taken purchase rights on three more.
Boeing has agreed a long-term contract with the Russian metals specialist VSMPO-Avisma covering the supply of titanium products for commercial aircraft.
Air Arabia Group expects to return all its aircraft to service by March 2022 as it looks forward to eventually extending its reach with larger Airbus narrowbodies.
Saab chief executive Micael Johansson tells FlightGlobal about the company’s success with the United Arab Emirates’ GlobalEye programme, and details its near-term delivery plans for Gripen E fighters ordered by Brazil and Sweden.
Boeing is poised to start the next phase of flight-testing with its T-7A Red Hawk, as the company continues to see strong market interest in the advanced jet trainer.
Central European budget carrier Wizz Air could further increase its Airbus A321neo commitment next year, having taken options and rights on a further 94 jets, on top of the 102 ordered as part of the Indigo Partners deal.
UAE investment firm Tawazun Economic Council has completed the acquisition of a 50% stake in the developer of the VRT500 light-single helicopter, a deal first announced at the air show two years ago.
Boeing insists that it is being “as transparent as we can possibly be” with its customers on the timeline of the 777X, despite the lack of precise delivery guidance.
DHL Express has placed a firm order for nine more 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters, having so far taken delivery of seven of the eight of the type it previously ordered.
United Aircraft (UAC) remains on course to conduct the first flight of its Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate fighter in 2023, with early work supporting the production of prototype aircraft having commenced.
Boeing’s deputy chief pilot for the 777X programme, Heather Ross, is relishing the opportunity to show off the aircraft having flown its longest and first international flight for its air show debut in Dubai.
Boeing expects to begin deliveries of the 737 Max 7 in 2022 followed by the Max 10 around a year later.
Icelease executive believes the cargo market has changed for good, driven by the growth of e-commerce, after placing an order for 11 Boeing 737-800 converted freighters.
Airbus opened the Dubai air show with a powerful recovery signal by unveiling a huge order for 255 aircraft to be taken up by the airlines of Indigo Partners.
Pilatus has flown a new version of its proven PC-7 basic trainer, with a launch event for the “MKX” product to be staged at the Dubai air show on 15 November.
Middle Eastern carriers Emirates Airline and Gulf Air have signed a memorandum of understanding to increase their commercial cooperation
Romanian carrier Tarom has signed for three ATR 72-600s taking to seven the number of the type the carrier will operate.
Russia is giving an international debut to its Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate, with a full-scale model of the next-generation fighter being exhibited at the Dubai air show.
Airbus Defence & Space has been awarded a contract to supply the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a further two A330 multi-role tanker transports (MRTTs).
Gran Canaria-based Binter Canarias has placed a firm order for four ATR 72-600 turboprops with an option for one more of the type in a deal announced at the Dubai air show today.
Boeing is adding three more freighter converision lines including one at London Gatwick airport, the first business at which will be from Icelease after it signed a commitment for 11 737-800 converted freighters.
Leonardo Helicopters expects to wrap up certification flight testing of its AW609 by August next year, as the tiltrotor nears the end of a decades-long development cycle.
The line-up of airline-liveried commerical aircraft on the Dubai air show static display was complete on 14 November as the event got under way.
Abu Dhabi-based Calidus has unveiled its heavily-armed B-350 at the Dubai air show, with the two-seat platform capable of carrying a broad variety of air-launched weapons.
Airbus’s proposed A350 freighter will be slightly shorter than the A350-1000, with five frames being removed from the basic structure, and the twinjet will be fitted with an aft main cargo door.
Textron Aviation Defense has secured its first international buyer for the Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine, with the Royal Thai Air Force to receive eight of the armed turboprops.
Boeing remains confident on the current timeline of its 777X, but has seemingly ruled out an imminent launch of a freighter variant, despite “advanced discussions” with potential customers.
Airbus is expecting a substantial shift in the trend to replace older aircraft types over the next 20 years, predicting that 40% of new aircraft demand will be used for fleet replacement – noticeably up from its previous estimate of one-third.
ACIA Aero Leasing on 13 November signed a letter of intent with Universal Hydrogen to take up to 30 hydrogen conversion kits for turboprop aircraft.
The static display is taking shape on the eve of this year’s Dubai air show, with several commercial aircraft already in place.
GE Aviation has completed dust-ingestion testing on its new GE9X engine for the Boeing 777X, as the propulsion specialist eyes a potential third application for the widebody turbofan.
Two years ago, the nation consolidated its industry into one grouping with the intention of achieving self-reliance in military industrial capabilities. Progress has been impressive
The Abu Dhabi-based services company is bringing the two parts of its business together this year
The Dubai-based aircraft lessor and MRO says it went into the downturn in good shape and is well placed for the recovery
From flights between Tel Aviv and Gulf cities to cooperation on defence technology and freighter conversions, last year’s landmark diplomatic deal has led to a slew of new partnerships
The emirate has made a strong bounce back from the downturn - and private jets have followed.
The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the airline industry has left many people yearning for a return to how things were in 2019. But it is easy to forget that all was not rosy when the industry entered the crisis, especially for carriers in the Middle East.
Backed by the Biden administration and Israel, the UAE’s attempt to buy stealthy F-35As looks set to propel its air force to the next level of combat capability and give it an edge over potential foes.