The Dubai Airshow took off Sunday to a slow start after three years of record aircraft orders as the planemakers are bracing for a slowdown in new commitments due to low oil prices and unrest in some parts of the Middle East.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, inaugurated the 2015 edition of biennial show that will run until Thursday.
The first day of the show was quiet compared to previous edition in terms of commercial orders. The five-day show was expected to witness defence deals, but nothing significant announced.
"It has been a very subdued start to the show and this reflects the reality of the market place," Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, told Khaleej Times.
Analysts said that the tally of more than 400 orders worth over $206.1 billion witnessed at the 2013 edition is not going to repeat again. They also mentioned that it's not order time but said it's delivery time of previous orders.
"It highlights how previous campaigns dominated by orders have now turned to the delivery phase as GCC airlines start to induct the jets they've ordered in the past," Ahmad said.
Before the start of the Dubai Airshow, senior analyst at IHS Aerospace, Defence and Security Ben Moores predicted that orders could be much less than prior years due to a large number of previous purchases.
"There is currently a 750 wide-body aircraft order backlog from the Gulf region, so it is unlikely that further orders will be made. All the major carriers have very large order book for wide body aircraft," Moores added.
Boeing said on Saturday it remained confident about long-term aircraft demand, particularly in the Middle East which is expected to need more than 3,000 jets in 20 years.
Michelle van Akelijan, managing director of Dubai Airshow organisers F&E Aerospace, said: "With exhibitors coming from 61 countries, we are expecting to see some exciting and innovative additions to the show this year."
A total 1,103 exhibitors at the show will receive 65,000 trade visitors throughout the five days at DWC, Dubai Airshow Site, which for the first time will feature a 3D print pavilion, 3D Printshow Dubai and an exhibition by the newly-formed UAE Space Agency.
By Abdul Basit
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