‘Accelerating business and innovation for future airports’ is the theme of the 17th instalment of the Airport Show to be hosted at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) in May 2017.

It will span 15,000m2 of exhibition space, with 7,500 aviation professionals − up by almost 400 from last year − in attendance to see more than 300 exhibitors from over 30 countries at seven international pavilions. With 200 buyers from over 50 regional aviation authorities, exhibitors are sure to reap the rewards, as are all attendees looking to make connections at the three networking platforms.

“The Airport Show continues to grow year after year as leading industry players from across the world seek to tap into the tremendous opportunities offered by the Middle East’s thriving aviation sector,” says Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman of Dubai Airports and CEO of Emirates Airline Group. “The growing interest in this show is a clear indication of its value to exhibitors and visitors alike.”

Smart move

To put the growth of the region’s aviation sector into perspective, $172 billion has been set aside for an airport infrastructure investment programme. Much of this focus is on building airports of the future or ‘smart airports’, embedded with cutting-edge technology. There are 64 investment programmes in the Middle East actively increasing existing resources and expanding infrastructure.

In 2015, the global airport infrastructure investment programmes related to development, expansion and modernisation were valued at $544.0 billion, with the Middle East accounting for $84.5 billion.

Although the region ranks fourth out of six globally in terms of total investment value, it is the biggest market for average-value-per-airport investment projects.

In 2015, projects in the region were worth $1.32 billion on average, compared with $0.35 billion in Asia-Pacific and $0.19 billion in North America. The global airport passenger check-in market is expected to grow to over $2.00 billion by 2020, driven by digitisation.

The global airport security market will climb to $11.7 billion by 2020, with the passenger screening market projected to reach $1.65 billion in the same period. This is being driven by shifting governmental standards, new prescreening programmes and training to operate new screening technologies.

The airport communications market – security, ground handling, passenger assistance, ground transport and emergency response radio communications – is expected to grow from $465 million in 2015 to $590 million by 2020.

The airport communications market is expected to grow from $465 million in 2015 to $590 million by 2020.

Middle East air traffic is projected to double in the next ten years with nearly all ends of the Earth reachable with a single flight – two thirds of the planet’s population is less than an eight-hour flight away. Boeing’s forecast suggests the region will need more than 3,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years, valued at about $730 billion. Airbus will be sending 1,300 new planes to the area in the next decade.

Technology, gender and security

The Airport Show, supported by the national government as well as the private sector, offers the opportunity for aviation professionals and decision-makers to exhibit and source the latest technology, find out about emerging trends, create lasting relationships, and learn from those directly involved in the region’s $170-billion airport expansion and modernisation plan.

This is the ideal platform to increase business in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia; generate quality leads for commercial teams; understand the challenges in the region; win new business by cementing relationships within the supply chain; profile organisations to buyers and leading contractors; and showcase innovations to a targeted audience.

The Airport Show will cover seven sectors:

  • airport build and installations
  • airfield construction and installations
  • airport operations
  • airport security
  • airport technology and IT
  • ground support equipment and services
  • air traffic management.

There is also the second instalment of ‘Women in Aviation’ to look out for. In 2015, women professionals from Germany, Lebanon, Romania, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries met to speak about a range of issues affecting women in the industry.

These included women breaking records in management roles, working conditions for women in transport, trends in acquiring pilots’ licences for women pilots, and airport and airline jobs and training.

“The speakers are the brightest and the most courageous women I ever met,” said Marina Yelkina, airport operations consultant, Munich Airport, of the event. “I was deeply touched by the success stories and the visions they shared. It is very empowering to pursue your own goals after such a battery-charge event.”

The topic of airport security will take centre stage and will feature a host of exclusive benefits for global airport security vendors. Another important subject under discussion will be the latest air traffic management technologies and solutions from around the world, supported by industry associations from Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.

Collaborative events

The Airport Show is free to attend for all visitors. Interested parties can register their visit at any of the registration points during the show. Visitors will also be able to preregister online from March 2017.

Tickets to the Airport Show will also grant access to the co-located Global Airports Leaders’ Forum (GALF), a high-level conference bringing together top decision-makers from aviation regulators, airports, airlines, manufacturers, academia and other aviation stakeholders around the world.

Boeing’s forecast suggests the Middle East will need more than 3,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years, valued at about $730 billion.

Attendees will explore best practices, collaborate and establish clear legislative frameworks, policy priorities, transparent governance systems and effective funding strategies to accommodate the region’s aviation growth.

The second co-hosted event is the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo Middle East (WTCEME), the largest dedicated platform for the travel catering industry in the Middle East, Africa and India. It helps leading global suppliers, caterers and experts tap into the opportunities presented by its booming aviation catering business, thus ensuring the sector mirrors the growth and success of the region’s aviation industry.

This annual event is not to be missed for any aviation professional looking to understand more about global trends, create business opportunities in the Middle East and make lasting relationships with key figures in the industry.