Dubai: The Dubai Air Show - set to be the largest in-person aerospace event this year - is a testament to Dubai's response to the pandemic, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates airline.
Dubai's COVID-19 response was focused on "protecting the health and well being of the people as a top priority, while minimizing the impact of the crisis on the nation's economy," said Sheikh Ahmed, during a press briefing ahead of the Dubai Air Show, which opens November 14.
"As one of the world's most important aviation, tourism and trade hubs, we are once again hosting an important in-person event and returning to business normality. Through strategic planning, world-class measures and advanced technology, we have shown that we can overcome any challenge and these are the elements that are enabling us to host the Dubai Airshow."
The Airshow is expected to pull in over 80,000 visitors, similar to those past editions.
"We're monitoring and tracking for government regulations, but there isn't that requirement now. The normal safety procedures are in place, masks will be mandatory and social distancing will be in place in terms of getting into the show and also at the stands around the venue."
Being the first in-person aviation event to be conducted since the pandemic, participation is strong.
"We are welcoming over 371 new exhibitors and still counting," said Hawes. "We'll have over 160 aircraft on display and 20 country pavilions represented this year. This isn't going to be a regional event by any stretch."
Hawes said that there will be a "significant" presence from Russia at the Airshow, which will also feature Israeli exhibitors for the first time.
Sheikh Ahmed declined to respond to a query regarding Emirates airline's potential orders at the Dubai Airshow, but said that a discussion will be held with Boeing ahead of the event about the 777x twin-engine jets. "I am sure you will hear something during the Air Show - (the discussion with Boeing) will happen before that," said the Emirates chief.
Boeing expects its 777x jets to enter commercial service in two years. The twin-engine jetliner is running at least two-and-a-half years behind its originally planned arrival of June 2020.