In the summer issue of this magazine we published a preview of Airport Show, held in Dubai between 10th & 12th May. We now take a brief look back at the event – and consider what we can look forward to next year.
Certainly Daniyal Qureshi, group exhibition director of event organiser Reed Exhibitions, believes, “Airport Show is the number one airport-dedicated event in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa and a leading event in the global aviation calendar.” Indeed, he adds: “This is now the world’s biggest annual airport event.”
The Airport Show involved the successful hosting of two co-located events, Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF) and Travel Catering Expo (TCE), and Qureshi is sure that the 2015 event continued to build on previous performance. Furthermore, thanks to the continued success of this year’s show, he predicts: “Airport Show 2016 is expected to grow across all fronts and will remain the foremost B2B platform for multi-billion dollar regional airport developments.”
Some statistics for this year’s Airport Show: held on over 12,000 square metres of exhibition space at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), it involved over 300 exhibitors from 40 countries – slightly higher than the previous year’s event, and the highest in the show’s history, both in numbers and geographical representation. Moreover, three-quarters of those exhibitors have already said that they will be back next year; ARINC, Siemens, ADPI, L3, ADB, Guinault Lebrun, Eaton Power, TLD and CCM are among the international players that have confirmed their participation in 2016.
Also in Dubai were 127 hosted buyers from 30 countries, a 38% increase over 2014 and the highest since the Hosted Buyers programme was launched in 2009. Over 4,000 meetings were arranged for these hosted buyers – 2,912 meetings at the hosted buyers lounge for the Airport Show and 859 meetings for TCE, in addition to 116 meetings with Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) and 236 meetings with VIP visitors for both the shows. In total, 4,123 pre-scheduled meetings took place over the course of the three days.
Moreover, the six big country pavilions drew big crowds. Over 100 exhibitors chose to participate in the six country pavilions – for Germany, the UK, Switzerland, France, Italy and North America (covering both the US and Canada). This was Italy’s debut as a country pavilion.
The co-located TCE has also evolved and expanded. It attracted more this year, approximately 50 exhibitors from various countries, including newcomers from India, Kuwait, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malawi, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Thailand.
The second time TCE has featured as part of Airport Show, it has – says Qureshi – proven itself to be “the largest dedicated platform for the travel catering industry in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Sub-continent.
“Feedback from exhibitors and participants was very positive and the show is expected to continue growing, with larger attendances of global suppliers and regional airline and airport participation in coming events,” he continues. Plus: “For GALF, the response was equally strong and with top level participation this year from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Airports Council International (ACI), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Eurocontrol, the conference highlights global issues and expertise with a focus on regional challenges and opportunities.”
BUILDING ON SUCCESS
“We always improve based on the previous show’s feedback and our own assessments and analysis,” Qureshi explains, looking forward to the future as much as reflecting on 2015’s success. “We also take into consideration the inputs from our exhibitors and other industry players. We don’t come with the show in isolation, it is an industry-oriented event and will remain so in the future.”
Part of the reason for the event’s success is its location and the reinforcement that is provided by the hospitality of its host. “Dubai’s support and backing for the event has been outstanding. The event is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), chairman of Dubai Airports and chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, which has a positive impact in many domains.”
The event is strongly supported by the DCAA, Dubai Airports, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP), Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS) and dnata, in addition to UAE Society of Engineers and UAE Contractors’ Association. “Sheikh Ahmed has said that the show reflects the vibrancy and dynamism of the region’s aviation sector and we will continue to work with Dubai’s aviation bodies to further develop the event and incorporate any suggestions for the 2016 (show),” Qureshi observes.
Anticipating continued success in 2016 and beyond, he enthuses: “The show provides an opportunity for regional aviation bodies to experience the latest global aviation innovations, ideas and technologies, allowing regional airport development to benchmark with best practices from around the world. The event contributes to the region’s aspiration to have the most advanced, modern and efficient airports in the world and its efforts towards the sustained growth of the global aviation industry.”