Dubai Airshow orders may be relatively muted, analysts say



The Dubai Airshow, one of the largest events of its kind, has seen huge orders in past years but analysts say the volume at this year’s event could be relatively subdued due to the global economic conditions and the large number of aircraft that the major Gulf carriers already have on order.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be on display for the first time in the Middle East
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be on display for the first time in the Middle East

Held every two years, the Dubai Airshow saw orders worth a whopping $155bn in 2007, but orders dropped to $14bn at the 2009 event due to the economic downturn. Ahead of this year’s show, which will be held from November 13 to 17, several airlines in the region have said they will be placing orders at the event, but the overall volume that we will see is likely to be somewhat restrained.

“I may be getting it completely wrong but I expect it to be a quieter show because we have had some big orders from the major Gulf carriers in recent times,” London-based aviation consultant John Strickland told “What makes it harder to call is that some of the markets which are a key part of their business are being affected by the recession, noticeably Europe, and they are also being hit by fuel prices. But that doesn’t stop the carriers from putting orders in for somewhere down the line, so anything is possible.”

Strickland said his sentiments are partly based on recent comments by Emirates CEO Tim Clark, who said the carrier is planning to reign in expansion. “Emirates still has a long way to go in terms of orders outstanding, so without having any inside track information, I would still be inclined to think (this year’s event) will be more cautious than we have seen in the past. But caution is a subjective thing. What would be cautious for Gulf carriers might still be an impressive number of orders by the standards of carriers in Western Europe and the US.”

George Dimitroff, Senior Aviation Analyst at Ascend Worldwide, said he believes that that the largest number of orders will come from Middle East carriers, with the likeliehood that a “significant” number of orders may have been stored up for the event. “But I really have no idea what the number could be. Someone could order 20 aircraft or they could order 200. The way some of the airlines move these days it’s impossible to predict,” he said. More info