The 14th edition of Airport Show has open its doors to the aviation industry professionals at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) on Sunday after His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, formally opened the world’s top-league B2B event featuring 250 exhibitors from 39 countries.
Accompanied by senior officials of regional airports and civil aviation authorities, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed cut the ceremonial ribbon and went on a tour of Dubai’s iconic aviation industry exhibition which occupies about 12,600 square metres of gross exhibition space in three halls at the DICEC.
At the start of the tour, he visited the Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) stand featuring a 3D model of the Dubai World Central (DWC) which is developed in phases as the world’s first aerotropolis to house the world’s biggest airport handling 160 million passengers annually when fully complete by 2020.
The next on the stop was the Siemens stand where he was shown the latest innovation in passenger baggage handling systems by the German technology giant.
Located along side was the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) and emaratech stand featuring the Smart Gates which are being installed in a phased programme at the Dubai International and Al Maktoum International airports to facilitate hassle-free flow of passengers for passport and immigration control procedures.
At each stand, Sheikh Ahmed spent considerable time to learn about the exhibitor’s portfolio of products and services and spoke to the representatives of the participating companies.
Speaking to the Media later, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed asserted that the passenger throughput at the Dubai International Airport will achieve growth to reach the 70 million mark in 2014 despite the 80-day runway closure which prompted several airlines curtailing their operations or moving their flight operations to either Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central (DWC) or Sharjah International Airport.
Ranked the world’s second busiest airport for international passengers, Dubai International Airport handled over 66 million passengers in 2013. Dubai is slated to take over the mantle of world’s busiest airport for international passengers from London Heathrow next year on the back of growth in air traffic.
He said Dubai, which aims to increase the aviation sector’s contribution to the GDP to 32 per cent by 2020, will continue to invest in aviation infrastructure to cope up with the anticipated growth in air passengers and cargo movements in the coming years.
He said the coming together of exhibitors from across all the geographical regions coming to Dubai for the Airport Show-2014 in big numbers than the previous editions clearly reflects the global interest in the Middle East region’s booming aviation sector with the UAE in general and Dubai in particular leading the pack.
“We are in the midst of a long and meaningful journey with many more milestones to cross. We remain strongly committed to aviation’s growth and our investments and developments in this crucial economic sector remain strong and unfaltering as ever before,” H.H. Sheikh Ahmed remarked.
This year’s show, which runs until May 13, has grown substantially in terms of exhibition space, number of exhibitors, hosted buyers and registered delegates, reflecting the renewed global enthusiasm in the region’s booming aviation markets and positive global economic scenario and dynamic business environment.
Since its launch in 2001, the Airport Show has been transformed into a successful platform for the aviation industry professionals to explore the latest technology and innovation along with developing networking and new business prospects.
Sold out days ahead of its opening, the trade show is designed for the airport procurement, supplies, solutions and technology for the Middle East region where estimated $100 billion investments, including $40 billion in the six GCC states, have been earmarked for airports expansion and new developments to handle the anticipated growth in air traffic. The Middle East, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA), is expected to record the fastest growth rate of 6.6 per cent until 2016, making it the second-fastest growing aviation market in the world.
Experts says airports in the MENA region, currently under various stages of expansion and upgrades, are projected to cater to 400 million passengers by 2020, with the UAE airports taking one-fourth of the share in the anticipated growth in air passenger traffic.
Supported by Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Dubai Airports, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP), the event has been organized by Reed Exhibitions Middle East under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who is also the Chairman of the Higher Committee for World Expo which will be held in Dubai in 2020 attracting an estimated 25 million visitors during the six month run of the world’s third biggest event after Olympics and FIFA World Cup.
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed remarked: “The event mirrors the aviation industry’s robust growth and the region’s economic resilience. Billions are being invested to provide the additional airport capacity required to accommodate the anticipated demand.”
The show has recorded a nine per cent growth in the gross exhibition space which stood at 12,600 square metres. The number of exhibitors surged 11 per cent to reach the 250 mark. Exhibitors have come from 39 countries, including eight new entrants-Estonia, India, Libya, Luxemburg, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Thailand.
Repeat exhibitors accounts for 64 per cent of the total exhibitors at the sold-out 2014 edition, reflecting the strong standing and unfaltering appeal of the show among the global companies to tap the high-potential regional markets through the business networking and new customer base at the show and its two co-located events, Travel Catering Expo (TCE) and Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF).
The immense potential offered by the show to global companies for successfully tapping new business and sales leads from the regional airports and civil aviation bodies is amply amplified through the successful running of the Hosted Buyers Programme since 2009.
The B2B initiative, which offers dedicated meetings between the buyers and sellers of latest innovation and technology, recorded a spectacular 80 per cent growth with an all-time high participation of 105 decision-makers from 38 airport operators and civil aviation authorities from 19 countries.
They have come from Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the UAE.
As many as 66 companies, representing a broad spectrum of aviation industry segments, are participating in six country pavilions, including the first-ever joint US-Canada marquee. Germany Pavilion is the biggest of them with 31 exhibitors, including 11 new exhibitors, while China, France and Swiss pavilions features a total of 28 exhibitors, including seven new participants.
The show has continued to receiving strong backing of trade bodies like German Airport Technology and Equipment (GATE), Danish Airport Group, British Aviation Group, British Airport Services and Equipment Association, Swiss Airport Suppliers, Netherlands Airport Technology, UBIFRANCE, Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), UAE Society of Engineers, and Supply Chain and Logistics Group.
Expected to attract about 7000 aviation industry professionals drawn from 50 countries over three days this year, the Airport Show has remained the most-preferred choice for the global companies to unveil 40 new products, solutions and technology, including several Middle East debuts.
The show received strong support from key players through sponsorship by G4s (platinum), emaratech (gold) and Smartworld and Ultra Electronics Ithra (silver). Honeywell is sponsoring the Innovation Podium where 37 sessions offer participants insights into the latest technology and products and emerging trends. LG Electronics sponsored the Show Bag while DTP went for the Lanyards sponsorship.
The B2B event is specially focused on the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region where the airport developments remains a top priority with the governments’ driving the aviation growth as a key contributor to the economic consolidation.
Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East, said: “The Show’s transformation has been overwhelming and along with performance parameters remaining strong. Airport Show-2014 stands out on several fronts, reflecting high optimism and positive growth trends in the region aviation industry. The three-in-one format of the B2B event will create a better and larger impact for all the players of the industry, right from the decision-makers to the end-users.”
Travel Catering Expo (TCE) was added to the Airport Show as a co-located event this year taking into account the expansion of regional airports and airlines with passenger catering services in the focus of their multi-million dollar modernization drive for up gradation of facilities and fleets.
As many as 50 companies from the UAE, Turkey, Jordan, China, Bahrain, France, Sri Lanka, Canada and The Netherlands are participating in the TCE which is supported by Emirates Flight Catering, Food Point, DCAA and Dubai Airports.
The Expo aims to provide a dedicated platform for the key players of the $15 billion global travel catering industry which is recording an average five per cent growth annually.
Over 1000 trade visitors from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are expected at the TCE which is seeing the participation of 21 hosted buyers from nine countries- Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, South Africa, Oman, Tunisia, Libya and the UAE.
About 30 leading aviation and travel industry stalwarts, visionaries and thinkers have been lined up for the Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF) which is starting on Monday for a two day run.
They will share their knowledge and expertise about various topics of interest to the industry and its vast number of professionals.
The speakers are top management members from leading airports, aviation infrastructure developers like TAV Group and airlines along with IATA, PATA and Airbus ProSky. This is in addition to senior officials from Dubai Airports, DCAA, General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Dubai Police and Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Leading Collaborative Sustainable Airport Growth is the theme of this year’s gathering of high-caliber airport leaders. The forum will have 10 sessions, each dealing with a pertinent topic of interest to the industry professionals with Q&A opportunities for the participants. The forum is open to registered delegates.