Virgin Galactic CEO to speak at Dubai Airshow

For the first time, the Airshow will include a two-day conference on space exploration
Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides will be among the speakers of the upcoming Space Conference taking place during the Dubai Airshow in November
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Wed 18 Oct 2017 08:36 AM

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides will be among the speakers of the upcoming Space Conference taking place during the Dubai Airshow in November, the event’s organisers announced on Tuesday.

The Space Conference is one of four new “sectors” including at this year’s Dubai Airshow, along with an unmanned aerial systems summit, and airport solutions and cargo-focused conferences, each with their own dedicated pavilions within the airshow.

“Two years ago the UAE Space Agency exhibited at Dubai Airshow on their own, and since then there have been so many developments with what the UAE is doing in the space sector and their mission to Mars, and with satellites,” said Michele Van Akelijen, managing director show organisers Tarsus F&E Middle East

"We wanted to encompass all of that and encourage other participants from around the world to take part."

The event will also include Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency and Omran Sharaf, project manager for the Emirates Mars Mission at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Al Warden, the command module pilot of the Apollo 15 lunar mission in 1971.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Van Akelijen said the airshow expected more visitors and exhibitors than the last event, which took place in 2015.

“We do have steady growth at the airshow, and it does grow at between 10 and 15 percent per show. We’re expecting the same this edition,” she said.

The event’s organisers estimate that 40 percent of all visitors to the Airshow will come from the Middle East, 30 percent from Africa, and 10 percent from the Americas.

According to Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, the airshow is a “great showcase” for Dubai Airports.

“We welcome the airshow to demonstrate what we can do as a world-class operator. It’s a great showcase not just for the industry globally, but for the ‘Dubai Story',” he said. “It’s a fascinating place to just wander around and open your mind to the possibility of what technology is able to deliver.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.