Dubai AIrshow, My Take.
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this year's Dubai Airshow. Instead, I followed it on social media.
Mega deals were signed and several aircraft types were launched during the successive Dubai Airshows over time since its inception as Arab Air in 1986. For me it is not these deals or types that make DAS iconic. After all, these could have been announced and launched any time. What makes it iconic is that it came at the cross roads of the international air transport industry when it was at its lowest.
We all remember the 2001 airshow that came just 6 weeks after 9/11. The industry was at its lowest point ever, utter devastation. Airlines were grounded, aircraft orders were being cancelled and aircraft deliveries were being deferred, with no end in sight. During that airshow, a record order of USD 15 billions was made by Emirates (22 A380s, 3 A330-200s, 8 A340-600s and 25 B777-200/300s) and signed a partnership with CAE for the training center which is now known as Emirates CAE Flight Training (ECFT) that buoyed the industry and signaled that we will prevail and come back. Eventually, the international air transport came back to profitability; it was a long and arduous path.
Fast forward two decades almost to the day to 2021, Dubai Airshow is the first airshow open to the industry and public post the COVID-19 pandemic. The international air transport industry literally came to a standstill, with global lockdowns and confusing multi color lists of country restrictions. The Dubai airshow provided the venue for the industry to come back together, face to face. I am not belittling the importance of the commercial deals, but it was not about the orders and the agreements. It was about the social and physical interaction of friends, colleagues and professionals doing business; the old fashioned way.
So, thank you Dubai for providing these venues that showcase the best of us and the resilience of aviation.