20211115 dubai airshow opening
Dubai Airshow is the premier exhibition and sales opportunity for airlines and aerospace manufacturers the world over Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Before the pandemic struck and basically mothballed the global aviation and travel business for some 20 months, Dubai was at the heart of the air travel sector.

Economically, the sector and its ancillary activities previously accounted for approximately one-third of the emirate’s Gross domestic Product. It is certainly great news then for that sector to be fully rebounding following the worst of the pandemic.

Right now, the Dubai Airshow is underway — an event that is the premier exhibition and sales opportunity for airlines and aerospace manufacturers the world over. And it’s back, bigger than before. Already, global aerospace firms have secured tentative or firm orders for more than 400 aeroplanes at the Dubai Airshow, building on signs of a recovery.

Major orders have been taken for narrow-body jets — models that are the backbone of airfleets in Asia, Europe and North America, capable of efficiently delivering 180 passengers or so at a time in planes that are more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient.

Dubai Airshow is also seeing a big demand for freighters — a sure sign that the interconnected global marketplace is rebounding, and the new freighters are also mission critical in circumventing supply chain issues.

The worst is behind us

Last month, more than 2.7 million passengers passed through Dubai International Airport — another clear sign that things are returning to pre-pandemic levels and that the worst economic effects of the coronavirus crisis are behind us. Certainly, it seems as if it won’t be too long before the numbers of 80 million a year transiting through Dubai return once more.

Another sure sign of a recovery is an announcement from Emirates Airlines that some 60 of its giant double-decker Airbus A380 fleet will be returning to service by the end of the year. These giant aircraft, capable of carrying 500 people, have the ability to link three-quarters of the Earth’s planet together in a single transit through Dubai — effectively putting this emirate at the heart of global air travel.

Dubai Airshow is also offering Boeing an opportunity to regain some of the impetus it lost with its latest 737-MAX model, where robust recertification protocols have been implemented.

While much of Europe is now engulfed in a new wave of infections, the government and public health officials in the UAE have worked hard to ensure the vaccination programme is highly effective, allowing events such Dubai Expo and now the Airshow to once more show just how important the nation and emirate is in the global marketplace. Long may that continue.