Dubai Airshow 2021: the global aviation sector is seeking a fresh start

The opening in Dubai of the first and largest international air show since the outbreak of the pandemic is a symbol of a new beginning for this sector even as it still faces huge losses, estimates the International Air Transport Association (International Air Transport). Association) them. to 175 billion euros worldwide between 2020 and 2022.

After a two -year hiatus, 1,200 exhibitors took part in this Dubai Airshow 2021. More than 85,000 visitors are expected over five days. “It shows that the aviation industry is reuniting in Dubai and gaining confidence again,” he said. said Timothy Hawes, Managing Director of Tarsus Middle East, organizer of the event.

New contracts and a timid re -launch

American aircraft manufacturer Boeing took advantage of the event to announce that it would honor an order for the conversion of 11 single-aisle 737 aircraft into freighters. Its European rival Airbus, for its part, has announced that it has received an order for 255 A321 single-aisle aircraft. This is the first major contract of its kind since the pandemic, with its value estimated at nearly 29 billion euros. Of these 255 devices, “around 128 of these will be A321neos and approximately 28 will be A321 XLRs,”said Bill Franke, co-founder of Indigo Partners.

The relaunch of air traffic began although in September it remained 53% below pre-pandemic levels.

“I thought these numbers would be limited last summer, but the Delta variant came and put the business at risk,” he said. acknowledged Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines before adding: “Now we are in the very beginning of a potential return to the pre-pandemic situation that could come next summer.”

Fears of new restrictions

Airlines are gradually moving on routes with the gradual removal of travel restrictions.

Airbus has shown optimism on its side by estimating that the aeronautical industry will need approximately 39,000 aircraft over the next 20 years. It will require the training of more than 550,000 pilots and more than 710,000 highly qualified technicians.

But for now, the recovery remains a threat of a possible resurgence of Covid contaminations in the world that will lead to new barriers.

In any case, the show has shown that the sector is stable and it is turning a corner in what is the most difficult period in its history.

The ambition of net zero emissions

Following COP26 in Glasgow, the goal of reducing CO2 emissions to combat climate change was also on the mind of the Dubai Airshow. This ambition remains complicated for the global aviation industry, which is responsible for approximately 2.5% of discharges.

This has not stopped many exhibitors from showing how they are using new technologies to set up on a more sustainable and innovative track because even in the last two years of striving for the aeronautical industry, many have seen this period, the opportunity to make greener choices.

Last month, the International Air Transport Association announced that this industry, worldwide, hopes to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“Our avionics specialists make sure our aircraft flies as efficiently as possible from one point to the other,” said Colin Mahoney, president of customer and account management at Collins Aerospace, on the show. “For example,” he continued, “We are currently investing in building aerodynamic structures that can operate in a variety of temperature conditions.”

Solutions “Achievable even if we don’t yet know what they will look like”

Saab was among the many exhibitors at the show dedicated to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“We have joined the process aimed at moving towards net zero emissions,” confirmed Anders Carp, Deputy Managing Director of Saab. “We are now looking forward to the next step where we will define how to achieve this,” he pointed out. “In this very innovation -driven industry, a lot of things are emerging: things that we think can be achieved even though we don’t yet know what they will look like,” he observed.

Aircraft manufacturers and airlines are keen to point out that these environmental adaptations will not be noticeable by passengers, but will ultimately help their journey be more sustainable.

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