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Wed 7 Oct 2015 08:32 AM

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US doubles Dubai Airshow presence, amidst ongoing subsidies row

Larger pavilion comes despite war of words over accusations of Open Skies violations by American airlines

US doubles Dubai Airshow presence, amidst ongoing subsidies row
Visitors attend the Dubai Airshow on November 17, 2013, in the United Arab Emirates capital Dubai. (AFP/Getty Images)

The US is to double the size of its national pavilion at next month’s Dubai Airshow, despite the country’s largest airlines being embroiled in a bitter row with the Gulf’s three major carriers.

“The US Pavilion has doubled in size from 659 square metres at the 2013 show to more than 1300 square metres for 2015,” Michele van Akelijen, managing director of F&E Aerospace, organisers of the Dubai Airshow, confirmed in an interview with Arabian Business.

“The Dubai Airshow 2015 has a large number of returning US exhibitors including Boeing, Engine Alliance, GE and Honeywell, plus some new ones including Telephonics, and Aerion returning after a break of six years.”

The growing presence of the US exhibitors is despite the country’s three largest airlines - American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines – pursuing an increasingly bitter war of words with the three Gulf carriers, Dubai’s Emirates Airlines, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

The US carriers claim their Gulf rivals have violated Open Skies policies by received more than $42 billion of subsidies from their respective governments. The claims have been strongly denied by all three Gulf airlines.

In response to a request by the US carriers that the US government renegotiate its air treaties with the Gulf airlines, the US Transportation, State and Commerce departments have agreed to review the allegations and opened regulatory dockets in April where any party could file information and lobby for either side. The docket was closed earlier this month.

The US pavilion will be divided between commercial and defence contractors. While Boeing, American’s biggest aviation manufacturer recently said the large backlog of existing orders may reduce the likelihood of seeing the record-breaking orders seen at the 2013 show, it was confident the defence side was still strong, despite the slump in oil revenues in the region.

“It has not affected the appetite for customers in the Middle East,” according to Chris Chadwick, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

“The data we see is the Middle East spend for defence, space and surveillance products is growing,” he said. International revenue had traditionally accounted for around 12 percent of the overall Boeing defence, space and surveillance revenues. This has risen to 25 percent at present and is set to rise to around 30-35 percent, with “a significant amount of that” coming from the Middle East, Chadwick claimed.

The Boeing defence chief will visit the upcoming Dubai Airshow in early November for the first time, where the American giant will showcase its arrange of products, focusing on its range of maritime surveillance aircraft.

In total the Dubai Airshow is set to feature around 1100 exhibitors from over 60 countries when it runs from November 8 to 12.

Click here for the full interview with Michele van Akelijen, managing director of F&E Aerospace

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