Total sale deals at the Dubai Airshow look set to cross $100 billion today when the five-day event closes, and the next edition of the biennial event in 2017 promises to clinch deals worth three times of this to set a record $300 billion orders.
Major General Abdullah Al Sayed Al Hashemi, Chief of the Military Committee, and the spokesman of the UAE Armed Forces at the show, revealed on Wednesday that the total value of deals, including defence contracts, inked during the first two days of the show reached around $70 billion.
In an interview with the 'Nation Shield' Journal, Al Hashemi predicted that the total value of deals would rise to $100 billion by today when the show closes as the UAE Air Force is looking to purchase 60 fighter jets and is closely studying the Dassault-built Rafale after an earlier evaluation of the four-nation Eurofighter.
Al Hashemi sounded even more bullish about the next airshow in 2017, predicting that value of deals of would hit the $300 billion mark. "At the 2013 edition, value of deals exceeded $200 billion."
"In 2013 Airshow, there were large requirements. Ideally, such requirements have been satisfied by now so it is normal to see this drop in 2015," he noted.
Ben Moores, senior analyst at IHS Aerospace, Defence and Security, however was less bullish on 2017 sales prospects.
"I would say that without any new orders, the Gulf region's wide-body aircraft backlog will have dropped to 687 by 2017 from the current total of 750. On such numbers it is highly implausible to suggest that there would be a $300 billion requirement by 2017," Moores told Khaleej Times.
He argued that it is utterly impossible to infer that the Dubai Airshow 2017 will have deals topping $300 billion at this stage. "The $201 billion deals seen in 2013 were a one-off, triggered by the wildly successful launch of the 777X. In 2017, there is no new wide-body launch anticipated, so I can see this figure of $300 billion being remotely true - especially when many of the big GCC airlines are actually now absorbing the airplanes that they have ordered in years gone by - and that's before the 777X arrives in the summer of 2020."
Dubai air show has grown over the years as one of the most sought-after aviation showcases in the world. During this year's event, the static display was packed as was the aerial displays.
Analysts are optimistic that the growth at Al Maktoum International Airport will naturally help the air show site to expand and handle more exhibitors so this forward planning is a smart move, particularly given the regional and international influence of Dubai, its airlines and the aerospace industry too.
Show organisers predicted that in 2017 the event would far bigger in size compared to the 2015 edition but did not disclose the total area. This year, the show's static display area remained at 645,000sqm while area of the exhibition hall was 46,650sqm, same as in 2013.
By Isaac John
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