In collaboration with the Defence Services Marketing Council (DSMC), Dubai Airshow has held the first meeting of its Advisory Board for 2021. With its high-level industry, government and academic members, the Board focused on analysing industry trends and discussing future strategies that will drive growth for the aerospace sector.
The goal of the Board of Advisors is to help shape the 2021 programme and agenda for the Dubai Airshow to elevate the event to a new level of success. After an unprecedented time of global economic downturn and grounding of the global aerospace sector, the Dubai Airshow aims to be the restart and leader in shaping the industry’s future. The Advisory Board and its industry network are key to supporting and achieving this direction and goal.
The Dubai Airshow will be the first major airshow in the world to safely return during Covid-19. The event strives to reach a new level of strategic importance in 2021 with support from the UAE Government. The Advisory Board covered a variety of important issues facing the civilian and defence aerospace sectors. These included Covid-19 measures for a safe Dubai Airshow 2021 and sustainability and supply chain in line with the new ‘Make it in the Emirates’ strategy from the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT).
The session addressed Tawazun’s announcement at IDEX 2021 on research and development (R&D) in partnership with the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces; the UAE’s focus on future energy and investments in Green Hydrogen for zero-emission aircraft as well as Next Generation (STEM) activities in 2021 that will be supported by co-located start-up events on-site during the Dubai Airshow. The session also focused on the UAE’s advancement into the space sector, including the Emirates Mars Mission (Hope Probe) Project and the UAE Astronaut Program, which has led to a shift in multiple core sectors to drive economic development in the UAE.
Leading the Board of Advisors’ presentations was Omran Sharaf, Emirates Mars Mission (Hope Probe) Project Director, whose own career path was inspired by the Dubai Airshow and the technology on display. Sharaf outlined the importance of inspiring youth through historic projects that have a long-lasting impact, saying: “The main objective of the Emirates Mars Mission was to create a disruptive mindset in Emirati and Arab youth and create a knowledge-based economy in the UAE. This national project serves as a catalyst for building our capacities, especially considering that several universities across the nation have now introduced new science and engineering programs to engage more youth.”
Khalid Al Breiki, President of Mission Support at EDGE, commented on how the Advisory Board can help Dubai Airshow accelerate the speed of recovery and pave the way for the future of the aerospace industry. He said: “The majority of industry exhibitors for the upcoming Dubai Airshow bill it as one of the most significant events for the aviation and aerospace sectors. The 2021 Dubai Airshow promises to be crucial in jumpstarting the aerospace industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc and devastation on the world. Last year, the pandemic was especially hard on the commercial aerospace industry, which had been flourishing before it was suddenly forced to come to a complete halt. Now, the industry is poised for a recovery, and we have seen an acceleration in the uptake of new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, cybersecurity, touchless solutions, 5G, robotics, and automation. Today AI is being leveraged to deliver more personalised travel experiences to reassure customers and enhance customer satisfaction.
“Despite all odds, these solutions have served to create new sector-wide opportunities and enhance safety, operations, productivity and profitability. At the upcoming airshow, leading stakeholders will highlight several of these opportunities, and new collaborations and deals will be announced to facilitate and enable rapid recovery of the sector.
We at EDGE are excited and keen to showcase our aerospace products and services. As one of the few in-person events of its kind this year, the Dubai Airshow is attracting a lineup of leaders dedicated to the industry’s recovery through their actions and new technologies; it promises to be an incredible learning and networking opportunity like no other,” added Al Breiki.
Mikail Houari, President Airbus Africa Middle East, said: “We look forward to meeting and engaging with colleagues, partners and stakeholders from across the globe. This year’s Dubai Airshow will be a special event as it coincides with the UAE’s 50th anniversary and the Dubai Expo, and it will be the first international airshow since the pandemic. It will be an opportunity to analyse the lessons learned from the pandemic, pave the way for recovery and shape the future of the industry. The priority remains to protect the health and safety of travellers and keep trust in air travel. Sustainability will be high on our agenda as we take a more robust approach to environmental protection and sustainability. At Airbus, our objective is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, and we will be demonstrating the latest developments towards this target. We will also be focusing on our commitment to inspiring youth. This will be key for building capabilities for the future of our industry.”
As a member of the Advisory Board, Adel Mardini, the CEO of Jetex, presented the ability of the Board to reach out to industry leaders for feedback on how to move forward and bring the industry back. He also highlighted the opportunity to connect with global networks through Dubai Airshow 2021, which will help bring back optimism for the aerospace industry worldwide.
Timothy Hawes, Managing Director at Tarsus F&E LLC, organisers of Dubai Airshow 2021, added: “It is fantastic to welcome the leading minds from across aviation, aerospace, space and defence to discuss the future of these sectors. Dubai Airshow will create a roadmap on a range of key issues, including sustainability, digital transformation, youth engagement, innovation and the future of trade in a post-Covid-19 world. Through the leadership engagement programme, which will be running until the starting date of the airshow, we will be working with industry leaders to instill confidence in aviation following the pandemic and expedite the industry’s recovery. The program will also involve a talent skills gap analysis, which will be conducted in an effort to inspire a new generation of people to join the aerospace sector and shape its future.”
In addition, the Advisory Board will influence content and overarching themes in the aerospace industry, delving into key challenges and opportunities in the industry, as well as plan the potential outcomes of Dubai Airshow and its influence on the aerospace and aviation industry.