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A Look at the 2023 Dubai Air Show Amid Geopolitical Tensions

During the war in Israel, the Dubai Airshow is expected to see an increase in demand for weapons. Despite this, previously planned aircraft orders are still on track, making this year's show the largest in its history.

An Emirates Airbus A380 welcoming visitors to the Dubai Airshow. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

The Dubai Air Show, scheduled from November 13-17, is expected to be the largest in its history, with over 100,000 visitors, 1,400 exhibitors from 95 countries, and 80 start-ups. The event will feature 180+ aircraft, 20 country pavilions, and a week-long conference with 300+ speakers. Notable exhibitors include Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and new participants like Reaction Engines. The show will showcase military aircraft, commercial jets, eVTOLs, and helicopters.

With global air travel rebounding, the focus may shift from traditional sales rivalry to competition between Saudi Arabia and the UAE for aviation and transport dominance. The event will also spotlight innovations in advanced air mobility, military technology, business aviation, and spaceflight, with a dedicated space pavilion. Over 300 speakers will participate in conferences covering sustainability, passenger experience, flight safety, and space exploration.

Geopolitical Tension and Long-Haul Jet Recovery

The Dubai Airshow will take place amid the growing conflict in Israel. The war has increased demand for weapons, impacting airspace closures and lengthening flights for some airlines. Despite travel disruptions, over 1,000 companies from 95 countries, including four from Israel, plan to participate in the event.

Despite the ongoing conflict in Israel, long-planned aircraft orders are expected to be maintained. However, carriers in regions aiming for significant air travel growth, like Saudi Arabia, may need more certainty about future expansion plans.

The Dubai Airshow is anticipated to reflect a recovery in demand for long-haul jets, with Emirates considering additional orders for the Airbus A350, Boeing 787, or Boeing 777X aircraft. The show may witness new orders, potentially boosting the delayed Boeing 777X, with expectations for a significant demand from Emirates.

A Boeing 777X at the Dubai Airshow. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Challenges in the supply chain or certification processes may impact manufacturers’ capacity to deliver the latest models, particularly the 777X, which is already facing delays. Riyadh Air from Saudi Arabia could announce a substantial order for narrowbody planes, with Boeing currently having an edge in the competition with Airbus. Other carriers like Flydubai, Etihad, and India’s IndiGo are reportedly pursuing deals ahead of the event.

Emirates will showcase its aircraft lineup, including the retrofitted A380 and Boeing 777-300ER, along with training aircraft at the Dubai Airshow. The displayed A380 features the airline’s premium economy cabin and refreshed interiors.

The Emirates Flight Training Academy will exhibit its advanced training aircraft, and the Future Customer Journey will be featured, focusing on a barrier-free airport experience.

Former Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker, who stepped down on November 6, will be the only “big” CEO missing from this year’s exhibition.

Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
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  • Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo

    Vincenzo graduated in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with an aeronautical curriculum, focusing his thesis on Human Factors in aircraft maintenance. In 2022 he pursued his master's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Palermo, Italy. He combines his journalistic activities with his work as a Reliability Engineer at Zetalab.

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