November 15, 2021 aviation

Dubai Air Show opens to industry on the mend, Kuwait participates

DUBAI, Nov 14, (Agencies): Dubai’s biennial Air Show opened Sunday to a world still reeling from the pandemic and an aviation industry hard-hit by the coronavirus, but on the mend. Boeing and Airbus have traditionally been the stars of the aviation trade show, competing for multibillion-dollar Gulf-based airline purchases and hammering out final details minutes before backto- back press conferences. This year, however, the five-day exhibition is expected to be more muted than in the past due to the subdued state of flying and travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, the air show’s first day drew eyes toward defense and military hardware from countries like Russia and Israel. The day’s blockbuster commercial deal by Airbus was a sale of 255 new aircraft to Indigo Partners’ various low cost carriers. The agreement sees budget carriers Wizz Air purchase 102 new planes, US Frontier with 91, Mexico’s Volaris with 39 and South American JetSmart with 23. The package includes a mix of A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. At Airbus’ pre-pandemic list prices, the order would clock in at well above $30 billion.

Two Emiratis walk toward an Emirates Airbus A380 jumbo jet on display at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov 14, 2021. The biennial Dubai Air Show opened Sunday as commercial aviation tries to shake off the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)

The company declined to provide any details on the sale price. Airbus also secured an order for two additional A330 aerial refueling aircraft with the United Arab Emirates’ Air Force, bringing to five the country’s Airbus multi role tanker transport fleet. Kuwait is represented at the airshow by the Directorate General for Civil Aviation, the Kuwaiti Army Air Force and Kuwait Airways. Themes of the fair address space exploration, cyber security, artificial smartness and low- cost air shipping. The fair, due to proceed until next Thursday, includes 20 pavilions and nine seminars to be addressed by 250 lecturers. Chairman of Kuwait’s Directorate General for Civil Aviation Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ali Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah on Sunday affirmed significance of the 17th edition of Dubai Airshow (2021) that kicked off earlier today. The show displays technological development witnessed in the sector of civil aviation industry, latest developments concerning travel and air transportation, said Sheikh Abdullah in remarks to KUNA.

The Dubai fair has consolidated its status on the international exhibitions’ map; with respect of global participation, organization and diversification of the participating companies, he added. Moreover, it constitutes an opportunity to examine expertise of international companies that operate in the civil aviation and how they have coped with repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak, he added Kuwait is partaking in the event to have a close look at latest innovations, products and equipment used in the civil aviation, he said.

Meanwhile, Dhiab Al-Rashidi, the General Consul of the State of Kuwait to the UAE and Northern Emirates, lauded the continuing development by the fair since its launch in 1989. The diplomat has said the event is an opportunity to revive one of the most important economic sectors after suffering heavy losses due to the pandemic. The star on the tarmac outside the exhibition hall was Russia’s Checkmate fighter jet, which was shown to the press in a custom-built hangar with a display of laser lights bouncing off a mirrored ceiling. The jet, with a baseline $35 million price tag, is a less costly competitor to the US F-35, which the UAE has been trying to acquire since formally recognizing Israel last year in a deal brokered by the Trump administration. That sale has slowed under US President Joe Biden. In a dramatic promotional video, the Checkmate soared through burnt orange skies, blasting away targets in the desert as music blared in the background and a thundering voiceover rattled off the plane’s features. “The idea was born as we used all the experience that Russia got during its Syria operations and many of the features of the aircraft came from realistic situations that we experienced,” said United Aircraft Corporation CEO Yuri Slyusar through a translator at the unveiling.

In Syria’s devastating civil war, Russian fighter jets have supported President Bashar Assad’s forces. UAC is a holding company of stateowned Rostec, Checkmate’s parent company. Production of the jet is expected to start in 2025. Also, more than 100 American companies are exhibiting at the air show, including defense giants Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. “We are committed to deepening and strengthening this vital strategic relationship,” said Sean Murphy, the US Embassy’s charge d’affaires. At the opening of the US pavilion, he also thanked the UAE for its help in the USled evacuations out of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro roamed the tarmac outside the booth of iconic Brazilian aerospace company Embraer, inspecting the interior of the company’s hulking C-390 Millennium transport aircraft, smiling and waving to crowds of reporters. French Defense Minister Florence Parly surveyed the range of helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft at the Airbus pavilion, surrounded by French airmen in uniform. Boeing brought its new 777-9 passenger jet from Seattle in the longest flight to date for the aircraft as it undergoes continued tests and awaits regulatory approval. Boeing says it will be the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet.

The Middle East’s largest carrier, Emirates, has ordered 126 of this 777X, but the Dubai-based airline has expressed frustration with delays around its delivery, which is not expected before late 2023. Airbus took journalists through a version of the A320neo, which had been converted into a luxury corporate jet replete with a large bed, walk-in shower and sprawling sitting area with couches and coffee tables. China’s state-owned defense firm CATIC displayed a range of anti-aircraft missiles, munitions and fighter jets. An Emirati airman inspecting a US-made Chinook CH-47 noted that the transport helicopter had been supporting Emirati forces on recent missions in Yemen and Afghanistan. Israeli companies displayed their hardware for the first time at the air show following Israel’s normalization of diplomatic ties with the UAE last year. The state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries company showed off a range of manned and unmanned naval and aerial drones. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems displayed its “drone dome” that detects and destroys drones with lasers. Emirati defense officials were seen asking about the range and weight of the anti-drone system at the Israeli pavilion. In all, six Israeli companies are taking part in the air show.


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