H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, opened Monday the 20th edition of the Airport Show, the world’s largest B2B airport industry exhibition, that had generated an overwhelming response in its new physical and digital format due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The three-day exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre’s (DWTC) Halls 7 and 8 has the participation of more than 95 exhibitors from 21 countries, 100-plus Hosted Buyers from over 20 countries and 36 exhibitors at five country pavilions for Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France and the UK.
After formally opening and visiting the stands and pavilions at Dubai’s MICE landmark facility’s and interacting with the exhibitors about challenges and opportunities, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed said: “The aviation industry has a history of successfully bouncing back from crises and the Covid-19 pandemic is no different. The setback is temporary and we will again be on the tracks of transformation. The overwhelming response to the Airport Show is an indication of the aviation world’s strong confidence in Dubai and its global efforts.”
“I am happy to see all the industry players working together for a remarkable and faster recovery after struggling through the pandemic and running the airports and airlines as the lifeline. As in the past, Dubai will in the future continue to lead in the industry’s resurgence through collaborations and cooperation. In a crisis, it is the self-confidence that moves the mountain and helps successfully sail against the winds,” Sheikh Ahmed added.
International experts said the airport industry, after over a year of unprecedented upheavals and challenges, has a renewed sense of optimism and positivity about regaining the lost tempo of growth and expansion from 2021 with the gradual improvement in passenger and aircraft movement due to the travel corridors being formed between destinations across the world. The potential influx of travelers after the pandemic becomes a history and travel restrictions eases has prompted the airports to deploy the newest technologies and solutions to ensure a healthy environment for safer travel until 2025 - and beyond.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects a 50% improvement in the global passenger kilometers with the number of passengers growing to 2.8 billion with the opening of the borders by mid-2021, an increase of a billion passengers compared to the year 2020. IATA, which represents 290 airlines accounting for over 82% of the total global air traffic, says people have not lost their desire to travel, and that travel has returned to its near-normal levels in several places where travel restrictions have been removed. It had been earlier expected that the Arabian Gulf airports would handle 450 million passengers annually once travel returns to its previous levels.
Key decision-makers from major airports in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) have come to the show in search of exploring and acquiring the newest products and services for their facilities. Like the previous editions, the Airport Show 2021 has three co-located events: Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF), Airport Security Middle East, Air Traffic Control (ATC) Forum along with and the Women in Aviation (WIA) General Assembly.
Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibitions Director at Reed Exhibitions Middle East, organizers of the Airport Show, said the airport industry globally will witness massive investments to implement the new initiatives recommended by the IATA, ACI and ICAO in terms of health safety and technology adoption for quicker and smoother passenger movement at the airports. The major changes expected to be implemented at airports over the next five years will focus on technology and new IT-based solutions, reliance on artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud, remote control and drone technology and touch-less solutions for travelers, self-check-in/ baggage delivery and mobile-based services. Biometrics has become the focus of investment by airports along with contactless technologies.”
Dubai International, the world’s top airport for international passengers for the seventh successive year, excels in terms of safety and security, with increasing use of contactless technology, as it provides travelers with the opportunity to use their eyes to confirm their identity without the need to present any document. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, airport operators are now facing new challenges in terms of limiting personal contact and reducing congestion in addition to preventing passenger buildings from becoming potential grounds for virus spread.