Abu Dhabi and London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The second biannual Global Aerospace Summit began in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, drawing in some 1,500 industry executives, senior decision makers and government officials from 55 countries around the globe to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the aviation, aerospace and defense industries today.
Under the theme, “Forging Strategies for the Growth of our Industries,” the summit will host a number of heavyweights from the industries, including the chief executives from industry giants such as Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.
Representatives from airlines, aircraft manufacturers, satellite companies, aerospace companies and suppliers will also be present at the summit, which will also this year include delegates from the emerging markets bloc, the BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—with whom the UAE is looking to strengthen its trade ties, particularly in the aviation and aerospace industries.
With the UAE entering into key strategic partnerships with global organizations in order to develop its manufacturing capabilities within the aerospace sector, it has now become a supplier to some of the world’s leading global aircraft manufacturers. European aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus predicts that over the next 20 years, global demand for commercial aircraft will reach 4.4 trillion US dollars, with China and India seen as being significant drivers of this demand.
In addition to the main conference, the summit will also host a number of specialist strategy sessions and closed-door meetings on a number of issues including defense manufacture.
The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority’s director general, Saif Mohammed Al-Suwaidy, who opened the Summit, said during his keynote address: “We are standing in front of an ever-growing industry that has its own challenges and opportunities. This is an exciting time not only for UAE, but for all countries participating in this summit to create a strong lasting partnership and build opportunities for cooperative and harmonized actions.”
Habib Faqih, Middle-East chief for Airbus, said he had seen significant developments in this year’s event, adding that he felt the summit provided an opportunity for industry practitioners to meet and discuss the most pressing issues in global aviation, aerospace and defense, especially for the Middle-East region.
Chris Boardman, the managing director of BAE Systems Military Air & Information, a BAE Systems subsidiary, said strategic investment and continued technological innovation were the main driving factors for the industries. “The summit’s timetable this year will include the discussion of a number of the central issues for our industry, as well as the exchange of opinions regarding boosting the aircraft manufacturing sector both regionally and globally.”
Speaking of the UAE’s progress in the field of aviation, James Hogan, chief executive of UAE carrier Etihad Airways, said: “After only 10 years launching a national carrier, the UAE has become a thriving hub for a number of sectors related to commercial aviation and aircraft manufacture, thanks to the vision of the government and the importance it has given these areas, alongside strategic plans put forward by aviation companies such as Etihad.”
This year’s Summit will also host a new initiative aimed at attracting young people to work in the aviation, aerospace and defense industries, as well as developing the relevant industry educational programs to train the next generation of industry specialists.