Shaikh Ahmed opens Airport Show in Dubai

Dubai Airshow 2011

By Issac John

The Airport Show, a prospective sourcing venue for buyers who require Dh106 billion worth of products for new and existing airport projects, opened on Tuesday at the Dubai Airport Expo Centre.

Dubai Airshow 2011Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, inaugurated the event that is designed to cater to the needs of existing and new airports in the region where development and expansion projects are estimated to cost $90 billion over the next few years, organisers said.

The 11th edition of the show drew more than 160 exhibitors and scores of buyers, underscoring the vibrant growth the aviation industry in the region, particularly the UAE is undergoing at present.

International Air Transport Association, or IATA, has predicted that the UAE would emerge as the world’s second fastest growing aviation market in the world with 10.2 per cent growth by 2013 after China which is expected to grow by 10.8 per cent.  According to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, a growth of nearly nine percent in air traffic was observed across UAE airspace in the first quarter of 2011 alone.

The Airport Show has the potential to generate huge orders in the wake of brisk airport developments under way in the GCC and the Middle East, a region which is projected to handle over 400 million passengers by 2020, industry sources said.

Organisers  Reed Exhibitions Middle East said among the leading investors in airport development activity in the Gulf are Dubai, which has allocated $10 billion, Abu Dhabi, which has allocated $6.8 billion, Qatar with $11 billion, Jeddah with $1.5 billion, Muscat with $1.2 billion, Kuwait $2.1 billion and Bahrain $335 million.

A leading project that will take the center-stage during the show is King Abdulaziz International Airport   that will aim to source state-of-the-art technology and construction materials for its estimated spending of $11.3 billion towards its expansion, organisers said. “Airport development and expansion is projected to exponentially grow over the coming years in the Middle East and Asia. As we near the exhibition date, we are looking forward to gather the sector’s veterans, who will exchange valuable industry insights, highlight opportunities and explore a roadmap to overcome challenges,” said Mohamad Bader-Eddin, Show Director.

Running alongside the exhibition is the two-day ‘Airport Leaders Summit’ which ends today.

Dr Khaled Al Mazrouei, General Manager of Fujairah International Airport and the Chairman of the Airport Leaders Summit 2011 said over the last decade, Middle Eastern carriers had boosted their share of the global passenger traffic to 11 per cent from five per cent.

Industry analysts also believe that the private air charter business will pick up in the late 2011 and on into 2012. This is evident from the growth forecast for the region where aircraft movement is to touch 160,000 by 2018 at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.21 per cent per year.