The Dubai Airshow has been in place since 1989 and happens every two years over several days. As avgeeks and Canada’s leading media outlet for aviation-related awards programs, we jumped at the chance to attend this show and see what’s new!
More than 140 participating countries with the most recognized exhibitors in the world. And this year, the focus was on the future of aerospace and defense, with the presence of renowned astronauts and the presentation of technological masterpieces on the theme of sustainability and air mobility.
Numerous countries had an exhibition stand at the show but there were also commercial, military and private aircraft.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, business is picking up and traffic growth is expected in the coming years. Orders have been coming in for both Boeing and Airbus, with the goal of serving more destinations and replacing older, fuel-intensive aircraft with greener ones.
We were able to discover the latest Boeing 777X, spacious and promising, as well as the Global 7500 from Bombardier or a new product unveiled by Emirates with its Premium Economy class! Nice surprises.
So what could be better than a life-size show on the tarmac with superb aircraft. We were able to watch acrobatics performed by incredible pilots in the sky: Rafale, F-16, Boeing 777X, Airbus 350, Russian helicopters and so on. A pleasure for the eyes, not to mention for the ears!
Manufacturers shared their vision of the future with new flying vehicles. Pilots were invited to train through virtual reality, and artificial intelligence is being promoted with the development of intelligent and autonomous drones.
Another example, the Lufthansa Technik stand unveiled a model aircraft inspired by the “welcome home” concept with large screens on board and cozy spaces with sofas for a home-like experience, in flight!
Moreover, through the different exhibitors, the emphasis is put on reducing the flight drag with the objective of lowering fuel consumption. Lufthansa says it was inspired by nature with the example of shark skin.
Others are promoting the use of more sustainable, carbon-neutral fuels with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions and possibly achieving zero carbon. This is the case for Airbus, which thinks it can achieve this by 2035 with its ZEROe liquid hydrogen propulsion technology.
In the meantime, the focus is on sustainable fuels or SAF(Sustainable Aviation Fuel) developed from cooking oils, animal fats, sugars, algae or starches or so-called biofuels. And precisely, on December 1, 2021, United carried out a world first, a test flight with passengers with 100% SAF in an engine.
All of these projects are incredible; huge challenges await aircraft manufacturers, particularly in terms of costs, production capacity and certification requirements.
We made sure to show up! As a Canadian company, Jean-Maximilien and I represented Milesopedia with the help of Jean-François, who also works with us as a volunteer, and joined us at the show!
On the aerospace side, we could discover the impressions of two astronauts from the United Arab Emirates, Hazza Al Mansoori and Sultan Al Neyadi.
Hazza is the first Emirati to go to space in 2019 aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in the last 32 years.
Our visit to the show was punctuated by meetings with airlines and manufacturers. Like with Matthieu Duvelleroy, from Airbus.
It is a pleasure for us to share our passion together and to travel with them.
Arriving from Seattle on a nearly 15-hour flight, the longest flight to date for this aircraft, Boeing unveiled its experimental 777X, which is highly anticipated in the marketplace. For the moment, tests continue to evaluate its performance and stability.
In terms of capacity, this one surprises as much by the width of its fuselage as its length. It is equipped with more efficient engines, new composite wings with folding tips. The control is carried out inside the cockpit and is done in 20 seconds.
The Boeing 777-9 promises to deliver a better passenger experience and exceptional performance in terms of fuel efficiency, CO2 emissions and operating costs.
Finally, the interior walls have been thinned as much as possible to allow the alignment of 18″ seats as for an A380. A larger interior, larger windows and higher ceilings.
Mike Fleming, Boeing SVP, explained that Boeing spent 18 months of analysis and 11 months of ground testing before the inaugural flight in January 2020. At present, the aircraft has completed more than 600 flights and 1,700 hours. Before its certification – expected by the end of 2023 – the aircraft will have completed an additional 3,500 hours of testing.
Emirates presented its 4th cabin, the new Premium Economy, already inaugurated in flight in early 2021. A product that should please many and that is a very good compromise between business class and economy class. Comfort is far from being forgotten!
As for the economy class, the colours have been revised. It is sober and elegant; the colours range from gold to green with touches of gray for the belts. The seats are installed in the classic 3-4-3 layout for an A380.
Note that the seat number is written on the armrests. So you don’t get confused with the seat next to you, as we often see!
Premium economy class
Premium Economy will be available on 52 Airbus A380s, including the last five Airbus A380s and 53 Boeing 777s, with 56-passenger cabins located forward on the main deck. The premium economy class has many advantages such as:
- a 2-4-2 composition,
- a space of 1 meter between the rows
- a cream-coloured leather seat
- a footrest and a support for the legs,
- an incline of 8″
- a Panasonic 13.3″ screen with USB connection.
This new class could overshadow some of the competition’s business classes which are not up to standard!
Emirates Business Class does not offer the same level of privacy as First Class, but it belongs above Premium Economy. Elegance and sobriety again, Emirates has sought to lighten and purify its product with its beige tones and the choice of a material that imitates wood, and is less flashy.
We were happy to see this first class again, sinece we have all had the chance to experience it in the past. An exceptional product among what is offered on the market.
Nevertheless, we prefer the new first class on B777 which allows a complete privacy.
Etihad Airlines is actively working on its Greenliner to reduce CO2 emissions. It claims to have succeeded in reducing them by 72% on a journey from London to Abu Dhabi! The tests are carried out with the Dreamliner 787.
The use of sustainable fuels is a future alternative to old fuels, however, the sources of supply and loading are still issues to be resolved.
Etihad intends to meet this challenge with the help of its many partners,
On the business class side, Etihad also wants to be a good actor in sustainability and ecology by offering its customers more responsible products:
- green water bottles made of plants,
- glasses made of recycled and biodegradable materials,
- Bamboo toothbrushes with activated charcoal toothpaste,
- bags made of recycled curtains from old appliances.
Etihad also presented its Airbus A350-1000, where tests are carried out to further reduce CO2 emissions with the objective of having zero net CO2 emissions.
The aircraft is signed UAE50 in honour of the 50th anniversary of the UAE federation and Etihad’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. The aircraft should be put into service during the year 2022.
A model of the A350-1000 was on display at the Airbus stand.
Ethiopian airlines presented its A350, one of the most durable wide-body aircraft with 300 to 410 seats, an aerodynamic design with carbon fiber fuselage and wings, low weight and one of the most efficient engines in the world.
All of this results in a 25% reduction in operating costs, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, which is no mean feat!
Inside, Ethiopian Airlines distinguishes itself with two different products: an economy class in green shades and a business class called “Cloud Nine” in red and grey shades with its green blankets.
The whole thing is simple, colourful and warm in order to offer an extra service for travelers wishing to travel in Africa. Ethiopian Airlines is accessible with Aeroplan points.
As Canadians, we were not aware of what Gulf Air had to offer and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We will definitely choose this company in the future to try it out!
We liked it so much that we visited this unit 3 times!
To begin with, the economy class offers optimized comfort. The 11.6″ touchscreen entertainment system is nice and has a wide selection of movies. Also, it’s impossible for your neighbour to see your screen!
There is a 3-3-3 seating arrangement. The comfort is correct, with a 17.2″ seat.
I must say that we particularly liked the Gulf Air business class. The positioning is done so that each passenger is in the direction of travel and can access their seat without disturbing the other passengers.
Another example: the seat is positioned completely horizontally to allow the most efficient sleep. On the window side, the space is even more impressive.
The seating arrangement is 2-2-2. Practical when you are a couple since you can be side by side with a folding partition.
The business cabin is very straight, decorated with bronze gilding and gray and blue tones. The seats can be massaging and outlets are accessible. The meal served is designed by award-winning Sky Chefs for a better flying experience.
And of course it is always a pleasure to be able to access the cockpit! So when the opportunity arises, we go!
The aircraft mainly serve European cities but also the United States, Asia and the Middle East.
This company has some particularities to know about, as we could see it by ourselves. This may not be suitable for everyone.
For example, you will not be able to enjoy a drink on board. Also a one minute prayer before each takeoff is broadcast, movies are available but censored and a prayer room is at the back of the aircraft to isolate oneself with curtains, a screen indicating the time of the next prayer.
Finally, passengers are asked to dress respectfully (shorts not accepted for example).
The stopovers are via Jeddah and Riyadh.
The leather seats are comfortable and arranged in a 3-3-3 pattern. The windows change colour to blue to darken the cabin. The screens are of good size.
The business class has been revamped. It is stylish and reminds me of the one Air France had on its B777. A complete Missoni kit is provided.
Uganda is new to the aviation market with its Uganda Airlines. A very beautiful product that is very warm, thanks to its colours, in the image of his country.
The spaces are pleasant. We very much appreciated the uniform details provided, whether for economy or business class.
The aircraft presented is an A330neo. Inside, three classes are offered. A partnership was concluded with the company Geven to make the flight experience comfortable and to optimize the aesthetics of the cabin.
Economy is arranged in a 2-4-2 with comfortable 18″ wide brown leather seats. Shades of yellow enhance the whole.
The Premium Economy seat features an adjustable headrest, wide armrests and an 11.6″ screen. Each seat has a bottle holder and a larger pocket.
Finally, the Business Class is modern and pleasant. The seat reclines to the full bed position.
Finally, the Airbus A321neo presented by Wizz Air, an Etihad low-cost airline. Orders for the A321neo were numerous during the event, making it one of the stars of the Dubai show. For example, the private equity firm Indigo Partners has signed a contract for 255 A321 NEO aircraft!
The A321neo is equipped with the latest generation of engines and a special feature, the wing-sharklet, which once again reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by over 25%.
The interior design is colourful, vivid with its royal blue and purple hues. Noise has been reduced for the comfort of passengers (and airport residents). It has everything you need to leave in a good mood! And of course, a dynamic team is there to serve you and offer a fast and efficient service.
The destinations covered are currently the regions of Central and Eastern Europe but could be expanded.
Alaska Airlines with its EcoDemonstrator
Boeing introduced its ecoDemonstrator aircraft under Alaska Airlines. When boarding this 737, we discover all the experimental tests in progress with the aim, among other things, of constantly improving noise performance, i.e. the reduction of community noise, the use of recycled materials and the calculation of emitted gases.
Private Jets were also in the spotlight on the tarmac of Dubai Airport. Exceptional aircraft that can fly anywhere in the world, for companies and wealthy consumers.
The ACJ320neo is an A320neo modified to suit the corporate jet market. The interior of the cabin is luxurious and spacious and can accommodate up to 19 people.
There is a lounge with sofa and seats, a real kitchen (dishwasher, sink, coffee machine and a cutting board!), a bedroom with a large private bathroom, you would almost think you were at home.
The Lufthansa concept, which I mentioned at the beginning of this article, is not so futuristic!
Comlux Aviation also presented its ACJ319 model which can accommodate up to 7 single beds and 20 passengers in a cabin at the rear of the aircraft:
UAE Air Force
The presence of an evacuation aircraft was reminiscent of the last missions that were conducted to repatriate citizens fleeing Afghanistan this summer.
These cargo planes can have very different missions; they are used to transport people (military, citizens) as well as military equipment, or even supplies during natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, etc.).
One of the advantages of these aircraft is that they can travel long distances.
M C 21
The Russian M C-21 is an aircraft with new composite materials used to lighten the weight of the fuselage and wings, and thus reduce drag and fuel consumption, which means less CO2 emissions. It has a vague resemblance with the Airbus A320.
This aircraft should see the light of day quickly with Russian Airlines, by the end of next year.
In numbers, Airbus won the order victory during this first show since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airbus has booked orders for 408 aircraft:
- Wizz Air: 75 A321neo and 27 A321XLR
- Frontier: 91 A321neo
- Volaris: 39 A321neo
- JetSMART: 21 A321neo and 2 A321XLR
- Air Lease Coporation: 25 A220-300, 55 A321neo, 20 A321XLR, 4 A330neo, 7 A350F
- Jazeera Airways: 28 A321neo
- Ibom Air: 10 A220
Boeing has booked orders for 80 aircraft:
- Akasa Air: 72 B737-Max
- Air Tanzania: 2 B787, 1 B767F and 2 B737-Max
- Sky One: 3 B777
A show that ended for us with music but also with a very impressive air show. Beautiful discoveries with beautiful meetings. We’ll be back!