His Excellency Staff Major General Pilot Abdulla Al Hashmi,
Assistant Undersecretary for Support Services,
UAE Ministry of Defence

How important is the Dubai Airshow to UAE Armed Forces?

The Dubai Airshow is strategically the most important aerospace exhibition for the UAE Armed Forces and one of the most important events of our calendar. Every two years when the event takes place, the UAE Armed Forces has the opportunity to interact with potential and existing suppliers, discover new technology and equipment, and network with the key industry players from around the world.

In addition to this, UAE Armed Forces uses the Dubai Airshow as a platform to bring together military delegations from around the world to demonstrate what the UAE is capable of and to exchange information and learn from each other.

How successful was the Dubai Airshow 2017 in your opinion?

The 2017 Dubai Airshow was the biggest and best in its 30-year history – the show attracted 79,300 trade visitors which is a 20% increase from the previous show. There were 1,200 exhibitors from 61 countries and the technologies and products on show were incredible. It’s no surprise that the order book reached $113.8 billion – the fourth highest since records began. The UAE Armed Forces ourselves spent $4.1 billion on defence procurement which was across a variety of suppliers.

The launch of new features and conferences at the Dubai Airshow 2017 demonstrated that it is truly the centre of the aerospace industry, with focused areas including Space and Cargo that are also important and relevant to the global defence industry.

 2017 Stats – How many delegations from how many countries?

There were 127 military delegations at the Dubai Airshow 2017, a total of 485 delegates of which 32 were commanders/chiefs, 31 were deputy commanders and 13 Ministers of Defence.  In total there were 279 delegations including both military and civilian from 76 countries.

Are there any new countries that you are looking into for 2019?

76 countries were represented in the delegations at the Dubai Airshow 2017 and we are looking to increase that in 2019. I can’t comment on specific countries at the moment but we are already having some very positive conversations with some who have not attended before – you’ll have to see in November who is represented at the Dubai Airshow 2019.

 What are the plans for 2019?

The Dubai Airshow 2019 will build on the success of 2017 in many areas. In particular we are aiming to significantly increase the number of inbound military delegations and defence industry participation.

More specifically the UAE Armed Forces will once again take the opportunity to use the Dubai Airshow as a platform for product and technology research, negotiations and potentially to finalise military procurement.

Will the Air Chiefs' Conference be happening again?

Yes, the Air Chiefs' Conference will be held again on 16th November 2019 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

What are the UAE Armed Forces major upcoming procurement and maintenance plans that the industry should know about?

The UAE’s military is growing and with that comes requirements for increased resources of course – I cannot be more specific at this point but we are very seriously considering some commitments by the end of 2019 – which happens to coincide, of course, with the Dubai Airshow 2019.

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