Dubai Air Show DWC
The Dubai Airshow kicks off Sunday at Dubai World Central (DWC). It runs from November 14-18, 2021 Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Aerospace industry CEOs, executives, and officials will gather at the Dubai Airshow on November 14 as the pandemic’s first in-person aviation event takes off.

The air show, which will go on till November 18, will be the largest aerospace trade event to be held globally, with the cancellation of European shows Farnborough and Le Bourget in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The event, which is expected to pull in more than 85,000 visitors, will take place at its purpose-built venue -- Dubai Airshow Site -- at the Dubai World Central airport.

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The mega event will have more than 1,200 exhibitors from 148 countries, displaying over 160 aircraft. It will also include a host of free-to-attend conferences featuring more than 250 industry experts who will share insights and trends across nine areas of expertise including cargo, sustainability, technology and space, among others.

Timothy Hawes, Managing Director at Tarsus Middle East, organisers of Dubai Airshow 2021 said: “The Dubai Airshow 2021 will be like no other – it is the first opportunity since the pandemic for industry professionals to come together again to share significant updates, game-changing initiatives, cutting-edge technologies and sustainable solutions set to revolutionise aviation. We stand at a unique moment in time after many aerospace businesses rapidly pivoted operations and invested in new technology to drive a new sustainable era for the industry.”

Dubai’s recovery

The air show comes as Dubai’s aviation sector bounces back from the pandemic, which led to the grounding of passenger jets and wiped out air travel demand across the world. Over the last year, Emirates and flydubai have slowly restored their networks as major markets opened for travel.

The Dubai Airshow is a testament to the emirate’s response to the pandemic, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and group, during a media briefing earlier this month.

Dubai’s COVID-19 response was focused on “protecting the health and wellbeing of the people as a top priority, while minimising the impact of the crisis on the nation’s economy,” he had said.

Dubai’s aviation recovery is reflected in Emirates’ latest financial results. The airline posted an 81 per cent surge in its revenue to Dh24.7 billion in the April to September period this year. Emirates carried 6.1 million passengers between April 1 and September 30, 2021, up 319 per cent from the same period last year.

Focus on sustainability

Sustainability will be a top agenda for airlines at the air show amid increasing pressure from investors and activists to cut carbon emissions. The talk will mostly be about adopting more fuel-efficient aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs).

In a landmark move in October, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The global aviation industry is responsible for around 2 per cent of all emissions – flights produced 915 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019.

Cargo boom

Airlines will be in talks with the two major plane-makers – Boeing and Airbus – on potential freight aircraft orders amid a global supply crunch. “With international travel still severely depressed, there are fewer passenger planes offering belly capacity for cargo. And supply chain bottlenecks could intensify as businesses continue to ramp up production,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, in a statement earlier.

Demand for freighters has gone through the roof during the pandemic with global consumers shopping online for everything from tech gadgets to groceries. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers, was up 7.7 per cent compared to August 2019, according to the industry body.

Aircraft display

one of the biggest highlights of the show will be the static park and flying display, which will feature more than 175 of the world’s most advanced aircraft on ground and in the air. The Airshow will feature aerobatic displays from the UAE Air Force’s Fursan, the Russian Knights, the Saudi Hawks, Surya Kiran from India and the Sarang Team of the Indian Air Force. Checkmate, the next generation Sukhoi fighter jet will make its first international debut for the next generation Sukhoi fighter jet. The Boeing 777X and the Leonardo AW609 will also make debuts at this year’s Airshow.


This year, Dubai Airshow has introduced a host of free-to-attend conferences featuring more than 250 industry experts, who will be providing more than 50 hours of invaluable insights and trends across nine tracks including cargo, sustainability, technology, and space among others.


Aerospace startups will take part in the brand new startup hub where they will have the opportunity to showcase their breakthrough solutions, take part in pitch competitions with major local and global aerospace entities such as Etihad Airways, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Boeing Applied Innovation. Entrepreneurs will also have the chance to get involved in mentorship programmes, workshops, and high-level networking with leading investors and accelerators.

There will be new aircraft demos from Bellwether Industries presenting the Antelope, an urban vertical take-off and landing vehicle with hidden propellers as well as Manta Aircraft’s ANN2, a two-seat model for personal air mobility with wide regional range at high speed.

Tech zone

Dubai Airshow 2021 will have a major focus on technology, providing a dedicated platform for showcasing the latest emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, cybersecurity and automation.

Dubai Airshow mobile application - A brand new feature for the show this year is the Dubai Airshow application, which harnesses the power of AI to facilitate business matchmaking based on profile and interest.