Airport Show to be held in Dubai from 24 May

Airports bracing themselves up to handle renewed passenger traffic in 2021

Safer travel technologies to drive the post-pandemic world

Touch-free experiences top health safety priority

Real-time customer services to be at the forefront

Airports to be more passenger-centric and IT-driven by 2025

Global Airport Construction market to reach US$1.4 trillion by 2025

DXB continues improvising to remain an ideal destination in the future

After a bleak year due to the global travel restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020, airports are expected to be humming with activity again in 2021 with a surge in passengers travelling across the borders.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has predicted global revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) improving by 50 per cent with passenger numbers forecast to grow to 2.8 billion – with the opening of borders by mid-2021 – one billion more travellers than in 2020.  Representing 290 airlines or 82 per cent of total global air traffic, it remarked that people have not lost their desire to travel and travel rebounded where barriers have been removed. It had been projected earlier that Arabian Gulf airports will be handling 450 million passengers a year once the travel returns to 2019 levels.

Reed Exhibitions Middle East, organisers of the Airport Show, the world’s leading airport industry B2B platform has rescheduled the event’s 20th edition in Dubai for three days from 24th May at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The organisers have said that the airport industry, after a year of unprecedented strain, challenges and changes, has a renewed sense of optimism as it enters 2021 with traffic gradually picking up as more travel corridors are established between important routes. As the airports are getting themselves ready and resetting themselves for the post-pandemic influx of travellers, they have started increasingly looking at the latest solutions and technologies to ensure safer travel until 2025 – and even beyond.

To be held under the patronage of His Highness 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, Airport Show-2021 will see the top decision-makers of key airports from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) making their way to Dubai to search for new products and services for their facilities.  The 2021 show is planned to be held across 11000 square metres of exhibition space with exhibitors and participants from over 50 countries expected.  It will have two co-located events: Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF) and ATC Forum, taking place for the sixth and third year respectively.  Two new conferences have also been added to GALF: Airport Passengers’ Experience and Airport Digital Transformation.

Ibrahim Ahli, Deputy CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services (dans) which is the sole handler of air traffic movements at Dubai International Airport, the world’s number one airport for international travellers for the seventh consecutive year, said, “Portraying the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that aims at making Dubai an airport for the world, we are adopting and implementing special strategic and future projects for the aviation sector which will promote the continuation in handling air traffic efficiently even during the challenging times of coronavirus pandemic. dans is fully equipped to utilise up-to-date technology to build synergy with our aviation and related stakeholders in overcoming challenges and fulfil the Emirate’s vision in utilizing innovative technologies to remain a hub of choice for passengers by offering the best services.”

He added, “We are working to enhance the efficiency of operations and carrying out systems upgrade for the safety and security of aircraft movements, much before the demand gathers further momentum. dans will continue improvising procedures, services and facilities to remain an ideal player today – and even in tomorrow’s aviation industry. The Airport Show will enable aviation professionals to gain ringside views of newer technologies and digitisation for a greater sweeping impact. Now and in the future, the Aviation service sector is set to proactively and extensively work smarter and have a more future-oriented outlook. Given the prevailing conditions across the world, Airport Show will be the ideal platform to get hold of anything and everything the industry requires.”

Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director at Reed Exhibitions Middle East, said significant investments and upgrades will be taking place at airports globally to implement the new health, safety and technology adoption initiatives by IATA and Airports Council International (ACI) with Airport Show a central meeting place to showcase new innovations to industry players. Key changes expected to be implemented at airports over the next five years will focus on new IT-driven technology and solutions and adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Cloud, Remote Control and Drone Technology; new green targets and initiatives, and passenger-centric touch-less solutions, self-check-in/bag drop and mobile-enabled services. Airports have always been exploring new ways to simplify the overall travel experience by adopting smart technologies and solutions which one can find in plenty at  Airport Show, he said.

The global Airport Construction market is projected to reach US$1.4 trillion by 2025, driven by a growing government focus on building infrastructure for economic growth and societal evolution. According to an IATA study, over US$1.2 trillion is expected to be spent on global airport infrastructure development up to 2030. Another study says the global market for ‘smart’ airports is projected to reach US$23 billion by 2025. According to the Construction Intelligence Centre (CIC), airport-related construction projects in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are valued at over US$222 billion, with over US$93 billion in the execution stage. In the MEA region, Saudi Arabia leads the airport construction pipeline with US$59 billion worth of projects, followed by the UAE with US$58 billion projects.  The Middle East ranks fourth out of six regions globally in terms of total investment value and it is by far the biggest market for the average spend per airport project, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

New Hangar No. 5 operational

After only 12 months of construction time, the latest hangar of AMAC Aerospace has opened its doors to welcome the first mid-size jets. The new building offers space for up to 7 mid-size jets and adds 4’850mrespectively 30’000m2 of new apron to the four existing hangars at EuroAirport in Basel, Switzerland.

Dedicated to mid-size jets

“We are proud to have managed this project successfully in this demanding time,” commented Bernd Schramm, Group COO of AMAC Aerospace. “The Hangar will be dedicated to mid-size jets maintenance and can accommodate up to 7 midsize jets like Bombardier Global or Challenger series or Gulfstream series or a combination thereof. The maintenance services for these types of aircraft were always high in demand and is steadily increasing due to our highly recognized quality of work.”

List of serviced mid-size jets serviced in Basel

·        Bombardier BD-700 (Global Express/Global Express XRS/Global 5000/Global 5500/Global 6000/Global 6500; as of April: Global 7500) series

·        Bombardier BD-100 series (CL 300/350)

·        Bombardier CL-600-2B16 series (CL 604/605/650)

·        Gulfstream GIV (G650/650ER), G450, GV Series, G550, G650, GVI, GVII (G500/G600)

·        Pilatus PC-12 series

·        Pilatus PC-24 series

Impressive wooden structure

AMAC’s hangars are famous for the wooden structure. The solid wood frame structures consist of several layers of wood; they are specially laminated to increase the rigidity and are harmoniously ecological. The wooden bars were cut and shaped in the factory, so by the time they reached Basel, they were ready to be installed like Lego bricks. The transport of the massive wooden beams was exceptional and impressive: eleven special-purpose trucks had to be organized to bring these wooden elements from Alsace to AMAC’s hangars at the EuroAirport Basel. 

Challenging construction site

To build the hangar construction, a pneumatic crane was needed. Since the crane did interfere with the safety distance of 7% to the runway, it had to be ready to be removed in a very short time. Given an emergency, that the runway had to be cleared, the crane had to be deconstructed within 20 minutes time. Fortunately, this was never the case, the project was spared from any accidents.

Three floors down

“Since Basel lies in a seismic area, safety comes first,” explains Philippe Schurrer, project manager and Director Safety & Security, Facility Management. “Several columns were sunk 6m down in the ground. The hangar is standing on these reinforced foundations which are able to absorb any shocks or vibrations. Hangar 2, 3 and 4 are built after the same principle, even going down to 8m, hangar 1 has the same depth as hangar 5,” he adds.