By Muzaffar Rizvi www.khaleejtimes.com
DUBAI — The Dubai Airshow on Thursday closed its door on successful note as it recorded $63.3 billion worth of orders for aircraft, maintenance services and flight training programmes.
Visitor numbers also broke the Dubai Airshow record with 56,548 people attending, making the 12th edition of the airshow the biggest as well as the most colourful yet as the Airport Expo displayed the colours of the UAE national flag in celebration of the nation’s 40th anniversary in two weeks’ time on December 2.
“We promised a Dubai Airshow that would be bigger and better than ever and we did not disappoint. The past week has been notable for its buoyant crowds, spectacular aerial displays and astonishing order announcements,” Alison Weller, managing director of airshow organiser F&E Aerospace, said in an e-mail statement to Khaleej Times.
“As the show comes to an end, it will be time to take stock of the successes and the challenges, in preparation for Dubai Airshow 2013 at Dubai World Central.”
The UAE’s 40th anniversary celebrations at the Dubai Airshow came to a climax as the country’s new aerobatic display team — Al Fursan — opened the aerial display with a fly-past with an Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft, proudly trailing the colours of UAE national flag to the delight of the crowd below.
Emirates airline dominated the five-day show with its record $18 billion order while Airbus and Boeing finished the event neck and neck on agreements.
The world’s leading aircraft manufacturers enjoyed a highly successful airshow highlighted by landmark commercial airplane orders, high-level customer engagement and an unprecedented display of technologically advanced aircraft.
Dubai Airshow 2011 also saw the Middle East debut of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which attracted the keen attention of many thousands of visitors.
“Dubai Airshow 2011 has been a very positive airshow for Boeing. We have sealed key agreements that mark a significant step forward in our partnerships in the UAE and across the Middle East region,” Charlie Miller, vice-president (international communication) of Boeing, said.
Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy also echoed the same views and said it was the record show for Toulouse-based aircraft manufacturer. “The order intake at this airshow is the second best we have ever had at Dubai.”
Also, the theme of flight training which permeated this year’s Dubai Airshow continued on the final day with the signing by Fujairah Aviation Academy in the UAE with IATA, to develop the facility as an IATA-approved training centre for high school graduates.