Dubai Air Show 2019

Martina Roters
13 pictures
6 minutes

Every two years in November, flight enthusiasts exchange the cold November weather and the aroma of deciduous leaf mould for the glowing sun and the smell of burnt kerosene in the air at Dubai World Central International Airport. And of course Wingmag is not to be missed!

A Grand Spectacle – Civil and Military Air Parade

The flagship of the Emirates, the Airbus A380, was ahead at the start, closely followed by a slender line of agile fighters.

One can speculate about what led to the idea of giving the pole position to an aircraft type belonging to a dying species. Perhaps it was a gesture of reparation for the painful situation into which the Airbus managers had been brought at the last Dubai Air Show in Press Room 6, when the Boeing managers flocked into the hall and the Airbus managers stole away with pale faces. The missed deal was the death blow for the A380 – production was stopped.

But perhaps the Airbus managers also see opportunities for a second marketing campaign and wanted to push it? (Wingmag will soon report on the fate of the remaining A380s.)

That was (almost) a close call! The Air Show Squadrons

The spectators were offered a lot of impressive flight acrobatics:

The Patrouille de France in their Alpha jets preferred to captivate the audience with breathtaking, world class flying manoeuvres.

For the first time in Dubai: the Saudi Hawks, founded in 1998 for the 100th birthday of the kingdom, with the green and white striped paint on the underside, the colours of the House of Saud, which in combination with the green and white smoke stripes resulted in a fantastic sky picture.

From England then the only non-military aerobatic squadron: The Blades, which unleashed real acrobatics in their small, less than 700 kg propeller machines, which made the spectators forget to breathe.

The Flying Display also featured other highlights, first of all the military ones:

Military jets

The hosts (UAE) were represented with a F16 block 60 (desert falcon) and a Mirage 2000-9. The latter demonstrated a very slow flyby. Experts assured that in this way sometimes the enemy radar can be deceived (“here comes a helicopter”).

The US Department of Defense came with F15, F16, and an F22 Raptor. The Raptor pilot demonstrated the ultra-progressive flight control by standing the aircraft steeply upright in the air – and even gliding backwards in the sky! The video cameras were running hot!

The star, of course, was the F35 Lightning II. This machine can be seen for the first time in Dubai. According to expert estimates, only 50-60% of its development potential has been exhausted. More than 400 machines are already in use in 8 nations. The A variant can even land vertically. Rumour has it that it could replace the Mirage of the host country.

The Royal Air Force arrived with five Typhoon Eurofighters. There was a slip of the tongue on the part of the commentator who said “Tornado” (yes yes, both are storms!) He then took this as an opportunity to mention that there are actually people in England who buy a Tornado privately and put it in their park!

President Macron sent – as in Paris – again the Rafale in the “seaworthy” version. If you look at the landing gear, which is inclined at such an angle so that you can see that the aircraft can be safely mounted on an aircraft carrier.

The non-military Flying Display then included the following:

Passenger planes

Without passengers, the two representatives of the big rival airlines would move impressively in the sky in a way you never see when passengers are on board – because then the drinks would not stay in the glass:

Airbus A330-900 NEO

No wonder that this Airbus representative was then also able to win contracts: Rolls-Royce engines of the latest generation (Trent 7000), aerodynamic improvements that bring four metres extra wing width (Sharklets), with a range of 7,200 nautical miles with more savings on aviation fuel. Thanks to advanced avionics, this aircraft can take off within 15 minutes if necessary.

And wait! Its seats are now 45 cm wide.

Boeing 878-9 Dreamliner

This large airplane glided with quiet elegance across the sky and was a feast for the eyes in shiny pink and violet. On the one hand, Boeing thanked its staff and its Employees Community Fund of Boeing (ECF) with the design “Dreams take flight”, which since its inception has raised one billion dollars for local charities throughout the USA. On the other hand, this is the first time that an aircraft has been purchased in a complete foil design. Gone are the days when a paint job determined the character of an aircraft for 10 to 15 years. There are undreamt-of possibilities…

Info facets from the exhibition

Sales successes?

This time, the question of how the two big players, Boeing and Airbus, fought each other is quite unfunny. In view of the initial situation, it was more likely the question of how Boeing was able to hold its own, since the debacle surrounding the 737 MAX has still not been overcome and is apparently tying up such strong forces in the company that the delivery of ordered 50 777-X to Emirates from June 2020 to well into 2021 is also postponed.

Here are the most important deals:

Trade fair conclusion:

With 84,043 visitors and over 100 aircraft, the 16th DAS was the largest of its kind. (For comparison: 2017 79,380 visitors). If one looks at the order books, however, there were still orders to the amount of 113.8 billion USD in 2017, this year: 54.5 billion USD.

Let’s wait and see what 2021 will bring.

by Martina Roters

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