“Aviation is back in full swing” after a Dubai Airshow packed with orders, announcements and impressive aerial displays, said Sam Chui, an aerospace expert and YouTube content creator.

Speaking to FINN from the UAE, Chui said commercial aviation activity in the Middle East had proven to be “extremely strong” at this year’s show after a string of orders from airlines big and small.

“Dubai is the happening place for aviation, that’s why Dubai Airshow now is one of the biggest air shows in the world in terms of orders and announcements,” he said.

“The weather is definitely hotter and sunnier here in Dubai, and the mood is very different. Dubai is a very surprising show: there’s not much news before the show, it’s very hard to anticipate, but often it comes out on top of everybody’s anticipation – just like this edition.

“It’s been extremely busy. It has been madness, but in a good way. The weather is hot, but the commercial activities are so high, there are over 180 aircraft on display, that is a record for Dubai.

“You have drones, you have eVTOL AAMs, you also have a space launch vehicle from South Korea, and the UAE’s own astronauts walking around the show meeting everybody. This is probably the biggest event of the year for me.”

Dubai highlights

Chui has flown countless aircraft operated by most of the world’s airlines to all corners of the globe. So choosing a favourite might be difficult.

But the aviation enthusiast, whose YouTube channel has earned more than 3 million subscribers, said there was a clear winner for him at this year’s show.

“The stand-out plane is the 777X from Boeing,” he said. “It is probably going to be one of the last big, super-heavy sized aeroplanes.

“As the industry is geared towards smaller sized aeroplanes to be more commercially viable, selling a very large jet like is quite something.

“Just watching the 777X at the flying display pulling 2Gs on the way up with a nearly vertical takeoff, and also doing an almost impossible bank, it looked like a big jet manoeuvring as a fighter jet. That’s impressive.”

He added: “I’ve been on board, I have spoken with the test pilots, I have met the whole team at Boeing. And on day one, they landed a huge order from Emirates Airlines. That cemented Emirates position as the biggest 777 operator forever. That also gave a strong boost for the 777X programme. That aeroplane is the star of the show.”

Game changer

Chui said there is another aircraft which also promises to shake-up the aviation industry: the 777-300ERSF, a converted ‘Extended Range Special Freighter’.

“That’s actually going to be quite an interesting player in the upcoming years once it is certified, which is expected in January 2024. That is going to change the cargo game,” he said.

“That aeroplane is able to position itself to replace the 747-400 freighter, with twin-engine efficiency. That will be a game changer for lots of carriers. They already have 65 firm orders and 50 options. So it depends on how fast they can convert these planes.”

With impressive orders from both Boeing and Airbus, Chui said the Dubai Airshow was proof that the industry had fully rebounded from the Covid downturn.

“Most airlines in many regions have recovered, and now they have the new investment placed at the airshow and they’re reinvesting in their onboard products,” he said.

“The orders announced at the Dubai airshow have already exceeded the entire Paris Air Show. That tells you aviation is back in full swing.”
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