Dubai Air Show 2023 Gets Underway

Civil Aviation

Dubai/New Delhi: The five-day 18th Dubai Airshow which got off to a business like start November 13 paving the way for a wide range of activity from display of latest aircraft to massive purchase by airlines, opened exclusively to industry pros and media.

However, the show which is the brainchild of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum also offers a public grandstand for thrilling flying displays.

The opening day at one of world’s biggest airshows saw a wide range of activities with UAE Space Agency holding  an Asteroid Belt Lander Challenge for startups and SMEs though it is meant for UAE-based companies that wish to be part of the Emirates Mission to the Asteroids Belt (EMA) by developing the lander for a mysterious asteroid, a senior official judging the pitches presented by the companies said.

Hoor Al Maazmi, space science researcher at the UAE Space Agency, said seven companies are participating in the challenge that is taking place over the first two days of the airshow.

The UAE Space Agency hopes to launch EMA’s MBR Explorer, a spacecraft named after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to the main asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter in 2028. The Explorer will fly by the Earth, Mars, Venus, and six asteroids before making a planned landing on the final asteroid, Justitia, in 2034.

The opening day also saw Royal Air Maroc repeat its order for 787 Dreamliner and thus confirming two 787-9s in its order book. The carrier currently operates nine Dreamliners.

Boeing and Royal Jordanian announced an order for four 787-9 Dreamliner jets as the airline expands and modernizes its widebody fleet.

Royal Jordanian ordered four 787-9 Dreamliners as the airline expands and modernizes its widebody fleet.

With even ChatGPT being used in ransomeware attacks, the UAE is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring cyber security in the aviation sector, the country’s cyber security chief revealed at the Aviation Mobility Conference on the inaugural day of the Air show.

Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, head of Cyber Security for the UAE Government, said in his keynote speech that ChatGPT is used not “just in drafting an email or spams or even phishing emails, but even in writing some of the scripts and decoding some of the things that we saw and we investigated in a ransomware level. And this is where it’s very important to actually take that into consideration.”

Explaining how the UAE is tackling such cyber security issues, he explained that the country’s cyber security strategy is built on five pillars: governance, coverage, protection and defence, innovation, and partnership. The country has implemented information assurance standards, numerous cyber security policies and fostered collaborations through public-private partnerships.

The strategy focuses on building technology, skills and capacity, recognising the human factor as a crucial element.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Dr Al Kuwaiti.He said the country has put in place certifications, standards, legislations, policies and procedures to ensure cyber security in all sectors.

“We have an ecosystem that allows the academia, the government and industries work together in order to come up with solutions that fit and meet many aspects of our cyber security requirements.”

Dr Al Kuwaiti also called for international cooperation and information sharing especially in the face of cyber threats like ransomware and the misuse of technologies such as ChatGPT.

The opening day saw Turkish budget carrier SunExpress place an order for up to 90 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, split between 45 firm and 45 options for the manufacturer’s narrow-body aircraft. A joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, the all-Boeing 737 operator has an existing fleet of 66 planes.

“We have 45 confirmed orders, five options and purchase rights for 40 more aircraft,” said CEO of SunExpress Max T Kownatzki. With this order, the airline will essentially double its existing fleet in the next decade. “This is a CEO dream day,” said Kownatzki.

The confirmed order for 45 jets includes 28 Max 8s and 17 Max10s. The five options and 40 purchase rights are all for Max 8s, but the airline will have substitution rights.

“We also have an existing order for 42 aircraft placed in 2013 and 2019. And we are substituting some of the Max eights out of that order into 10. So the first ten we will receive is in 2027,” said the CEO.

Stan Deal, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said Kownatzki’s predecessor exercised ten options for the 737 MAX 8 during the Dubai Airshow in 2019 when the aircraft was still grounded.