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Muhammed Yılmaz

Dubai Airshow 2019 Crowded but Ineffectual!

Issue 3 - 2020
Dubai Airshow 2019 Crowded but Ineffectual!
Dubai Airshow gathered the global aviation industry at the center of the Middle East for the 16th time. During the event the organization failed to satisfy expectations, the manufacturers received a total of US$ 54.5 billion in aircraft orders, the majority of which belongs to the Emirates, as a host!

Dubai Airshow, which was held in 1989 for the first time with 200 participating companies and 25 aircraft on static display area and supported with regional investments both for commercial and military aviation, has grown over time and become one of the most important aviation organizations in the world. The fair, which opened its doors to visitors for the 16th time on November 17, 2019, was recorded as the largest organization in terms of participation. Nearly 1,300 companies attended the fair this year and 161 civilian and military aircraft were displayed on static area. The total number of visitors was announced as 84,043. However, the fair fell short of expectations in terms of overall effectiveness. The fact that only 2 aircraft orders were received on the first day of the fair that was launched with great expectations made the sector upset. On the first day, Biman Bangladesh Airlines ordered the U.S. manufacturer Boeing two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with a list price of US$ 585 million. It is possible to comprehend the status of 2019 clearly by looking at the order figures on the first day of the previous two fairs. On the first day of the Dubai Air Show in 2017, US$ 15.1 billion in orders had been received and on the first day of the fair in 2013, an all-time record had been broken with an order amount of US$ 192 billion. The giant aviation fair, which is the flagship of the Middle East, is famous for its record-breaking agreements; however, it is possible to interpret this year’s event as a clear indication of the challenges faced by the global aviation industry. For rich Gulf countries and state-owned airlines, the times when large order numbers were announced seem to have gone for good under conditions of low demand and high supply, and due to the depressed oil prices. Economists believe that reasons such as the US-China trade war and the uncertainty created by Brexit for investors brought a slowdown in trade and growth. One of the most important reasons for the stagnation in the sector is the crisis environment that emerged due to the Boeing 737 MAX crashes within 5 months, killing 346 people. It is uncertain when the plane will fly again, and airline companies are waiting to hear from Boeing in order to take action. The extension of the process creates an unfavorable atmosphere for the sector. On the second day, Emirates cleared the air and emerged due to the shock effect of only having 2 orders on the first day of the fair. Dubai’s Emirates ordered a total of 50 A350-900 from European manufacturer Airbus, with a list price of US$ 16 billion. This decision means that 39 of A380 orders, the manufacture of which will be completed in 2021, have been changed as 50 A350s. The first A350 will be delivered in May 2023, and all 50 aircraft will join the fleet by 2028. On the fourth day of the fair, again, Emirates ordered 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with a list price of US$ 8.8 billion, like the captain saving his ship and prevented the fair from closing with the lowest order figures in history. 30 orders issued to Boeing are also a result of delays in 777X delivery. Even though 30 777X orders have been changed into 787 Dreamliners, Emirates still remains the largest 777X customer in the world with the remaining 120 orders. Dreamliner deliveries are planned to start by 2023, just like the Airbus A350s. The orders placed during the Dubai Airshow will create a completely new fleet dynamic for Emirates, which includes only Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 in its fleet. There will be four types of aircraft in the fleet. Both the A350 and 787 will also have the new Premium economy cabin, which is planned to be introduced by the airline in 2020. One of the important actions that increased the reputation of the fair came from Air Arabia, which can be considered as another host. The Sharjah-based low-cost airline ordered 120 A320neo family aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus during the fair. 73 of these orders were given for the A320neo, 27 for the A321neo and 20 for the longest-range version, the A321XLR. Only this order package was enough to make Airbus the most profitable company at the fair. Participation from Turkey Aventure Aviation, Cornea, Roketsan, Turkish Cabin Industry (TCI) Turkish Seat Industry (TSI) and Turkish Technic attended the fair from Turkey. Turkish Defense industry companies, especially Turkish Aerospace and Aselsan, did not attend the Dubai Airshow due to the Defense Fair held in Bangkok on the same date as the Dubai Airshow. One of the most surprising attempts during the fair came from SunExpress. The airline, a partnership of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, attracted attention by placing 10 Boeing 737 MAX orders, the total list price of which was US$ 1.2 billion. During the Dubai Air Show 2019, the total order figure was recorded as US$ 54.5 billion, including Emirates` orders of US$ 24.8 billion for Boeing and Airbus. This figure was less than half of the order figure announced only for the closing day of the previous organization. At the static area of the fair, visitors had the opportunity to see various civilian aircraft such as Airbus A330neo, A220, A380, Boeing 787-9, Embraer E195-E2, as well as military aircraft such as F-35, F-22, F-15, Rafale and Mirage-2000. The next Dubai Airshow will be held on November 14-18, 2021.

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