Karim Sahib | AFP | Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai’s final worldwide air show, in November of 2019, appears like one other period.

Just just a few months earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic turned journey the wrong way up, the highly-attended biennial aviation occasion celebrated an business that appears very totally different at this time. 

But almost two years after the journey and airline industries got here to a close to standstill, the market is selecting up once more.    

The 2021 Dubai Air Show kicks off on Sunday, November 14. Here’s what to anticipate:

Travel business restoration?

Things have been wanting up for journey with the continued profitable rollout of vaccination campaigns and easing of governments’ Covid restrictions. 

“Executives are cautiously optimistic about the future,” aviation analysts at consultancy Accenture wrote in a be aware forward of the show.

The agency predicts 13% development year-on-year in 2022 for business aerospace globally, although the 12 months will nonetheless be 4% beneath 2019 ranges. 

Dubai flagship provider Emirates Airline — the Middle East’s largest airline and largest plane purchaser — has loved a few of that restoration itself, narrowing its earlier losses with a 86% surge in income for its half-year earnings for the 2021-2022 monetary 12 months.  

Still, worries about potential new Covid variants, inflation and rising power costs go away a major quantity of uncertainty for the business. Dubai’s show is bound to see loads of discussions on business restoration, in addition to ways in which aviation has grow to be safer and extra hygienic resulting from the pandemic. 

Due in half to that uncertainty and additionally as a result of Dubai hosts a smaller air show than the Paris or Farnborough occasions, analysts do not count on to see many major orders this 12 months. It’s additionally as a result of the order books for Gulf carriers “tend to be more widebody focused,” mentioned Sheila Kahyaoglu, aerospace and protection analyst at Jefferies. “So I think that given international traffic is slower, I just don’t think that will be a catalyst for more orders.”

Supply chain points

The world provide chain crunch has impacted many sectors, and aerospace has been no exception.

Within aviation, provide chain shortages are principally hitting the protection house, Kahyaoglu mentioned. “In communications systems, ships, semiconductor parts — just wherever it’s hitting the rest of the world.”

In the enterprise jet section, there’s much less of an affect as fewer non-public jets are manufactured per 12 months than different sorts of plane, but it surely nonetheless “creates a bit of a shortage on parts, so OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] have to be cognizant of their material purchases,” Kahyaoglu mentioned.     

More than half of aerospace executives — 55% — “expressed lower confidence in their supply chain timeliness and quality over the next six months,” in response to Accenture.

Cargo successful

Only one air visitors section has gone above 2019 ranges, and that is cargo. 

People could have stopped touring for a protracted interval, however e-commerce and the motion of merchandise has continued to develop. Before the pandemic, a major quantity of cargo was transported in the stomach of passenger planes. But after these planes went offline as journey restrictions went up, says Richard Aboulafia, vice chairman of research at Teal Group, “all of a sudden people said, ‘Hey, we need dedicated cargo jets because that belly cargo isn’t available.'”

Expect to see Airbus and Boeing — the world’s two largest aerospace corporations by income — show new giant freighter variations of current plane, Aboulafia mentioned. 

“You’ll see Airbus talk about, maybe even launch, a freighter version of the A350 XWB jetliner,” he advised CNBC.

“And you might see exactly the same thing from Boeing with the freighter version of the 777X, the latest version of the 777, which has composite wings and such. That’ll be really interesting to watch because the Gulf is a pretty big large cargo market.” 

Indeed, in Emirates Airline’s newest half-year earnings, cargo operations had been strong, seeing a 39% improve and bringing the enterprise to 90% of the quantity it had in 2019.

Military gross sales

In phrases of protection, eyes will nonetheless be on whether or not the sale of the Lockheed Martin F-35 II Joint Strike fighter jet to the UAE, penned in the closing day of the Trump administration, will see any progress. The mammoth $23 billion sale, comprised primarily of 50 F-35 jets and at least 18 armed drones, is reportedly nonetheless being negotiated between Washington and Abu Dhabi. 

Previously, U.S. legal guidelines and export laws prevented it from promoting deadly drones or the F-35 to any of its Arab allies. But adjustments carried out by the Trump administration have made this doable, that means that if it is accomplished, it might be the first sale of the F-35 and U.S.-made armed drones to any Arab nation. 

There can also be a “general trend toward continued modernization of fighter fleets, mostly modernized fourth-generation platforms,” mentioned Justin Bronk, analysis fellow for airpower and expertise at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Fourth-generation broadly refers to fighter jets in service from the 1980s till now, with multi-combat roles and extra superior expertise than its predecessors, like infrared search and monitor capabilities and digital avionics. 



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