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Dubai Air Show 2017 to focus on future of travel

Unmanned aerial vehicles, airport solutions, space to be in focus when event kicks off on November 12

Gulf News

Dubai

It’s not all about the Airbuses and the Emirates’ of the world this year at the Dubai Air Show. It’s about the future of travel — flights to Mars, unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly referred to as drones), and all the new technology in between.

Organisers of the show said the event, which will kick off on November 12 this year, will focus on growth areas and new sectors that include unmanned aerial systems, airport solutions, space, and cargo.

The sectors will each have their separate conferences within the Dubai Air Show, bringing together both manufacturers and regulators in the industries.

Discussing unmanned vehicles, Michele van Akelijen, managing director of Tarsus F&E Middle East, the show’s organisers, said they were a growing trend within the aviation industry, and one that’s becoming more and more popular.

“The RTA [Roads and Transport Authority] is [testing] unmanned vehicles for taxis, so it’s both on the military and the civilian side. People are using drones for deliveries, people are using drones to get camera shots, and it’s becoming more and more of the norm. There are issues with airspace that need to be addressed, and that’s why we’re having the conference,” she said.

Commercially, logistics companies are testing deliveries via drones, with Amazon also testing drones to delivery packages. However, authorities are also citing concerns around the safety of using drones, especially when used around commercial air space.

“On the military side, they’re using more unmanned vehicles within their capabilities … But there are issues with these. It’s more the civil aviation issues with the airspace because there have been incidents where people have flown their drones into commercial airports or airspace, which is an issue that needs to be regulated,” van Akelijen told Gulf News.

She was speaking at a press conference in Dubai on Tuesday to discuss details on this year’s Dubai Air Show. The event will see the participation of 1,200 exhibitors this year, with 72,500 visitors expected to attend. The last version of the event, in 2015, drew 1,003 exhibitors and just under 63,000 visitors.

From a deal value perspective, around $37.2 billion worth of deals were signed in 2015, nearly one fifth of the more than $200 billion worth of deals in the previous version of the show in 2013.

While deals at the air show this year are yet to be announced, Boeing earlier said it is looking forward to some orders firming up at next month’s event. The aircraft manufacturer will be displaying its first 787-10X test aircraft. Meanwhile, Emirates will unveil its new First Class for the newly-configured 777-300ER, while flydubai will have a new 737 MAX on display.

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