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Dubai Airshow Gears Up For Take Off

Dubai Airshow Gears Up For Take Off

Delegates can expect plenty of space, inside and out, when they visit the dedicated Dubai World Central site in November.

Driving into the new purpose-built Dubai Airshow site, beyond the entrance to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central, the first thing you notice are the distinctive green, white and red-topped chalets, well-known symbols of previous shows at the Airport Expo site, which provide a sense of familiarity and continuity.

A few minutes later, after walking through the architecturally striking entrance, it’s clear that’s where the similarities  end: where there were once a handful of registration desks are now more than a dozen, and there’s no east or west halls beyond – just an enormous 60,000sqm space under one roof, the size of seven football pitches.

As befits most other aspects of Dubai World Central, the scale is impressive, and everything – from the 5,300-space car park, three times the size of Airport Expo, to the larger static aircraft park and improved media and catering facilities – have been taken to a new level. Altogether, it measures 645,000sqm.

The only hiccup in the construction was a fire in May which damaged the roof of one of the facilities, but looking at the site today, you’d never have known.

Appropriately, this year’s show between November 17-21 will be the largest in history with exhibitor numbers up 11 per cent to 1,000 and trade visitors set to rise 6 per cent to 60,000. Dubai Airshows haven’t always been blessed with fortuitous timing – 9/11, SARs and the global recession spring to mind – but you sense this time around couldn’t have been better, with the region’s travel industry in buoyant mood, the new airport now open to passengers and the city’s business sentiment sky-high with Dubai hanging on Expo 2020, which will be announced the week after the show.

With stands yet to go in, it’s hard to comprehend the overall look and feel, but Michele Van Akelijen, Managing Director, F&E Aerospace, said there will be wider aisles, and in keeping with the overall theme, more open space.

One major benefit from being independent of the Dubai International operation is that it has been able to set up earlier, and outside are three rows of chalets (18 single storey, 89 double-storey) available, overlooking the runway. Airbus aims to stand out from the crowd by holding its pavilion on the chalet line, where it will complement its nearby aircraft display.

Romania and Sweden are making their country pavilion debuts and a Humanitarian Pavilion will be on display for the first time, promoting aviation’s role in catastrophes and disasters. The UAE – with 266 new companies – Canada, US and China are all seeing greater participation than 2011.

Work on the Skyview grandstand is underway, where delegates will watch daily flying displays between 2pm-5pm. Airbus’ A400M military aircraft will be displayed in the Gulf for the first time and the UAE’s Al Fursan aerobatics squad will be joined by Britain’s Red Arrows.

Shuttle buses will run continuously from Ibn Battuta mall, Jebel Ali Metro and 17 official partner hotels to the Dubai Airshow site.

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