Dubai Air Show opens as Israel attends for the first time

Dubai’s biennial Air Show opened on Sunday, with aviation and defence companies hoping to clinch billions of dollars in deals at an exhibition that is expected to be quieter than in the past due to the subdued state of flying and travel amid the COVID pandemic.

It comes as an opportunity for the hard-hit aviation sector – traditionally the star of the five-day aviation trade show that is expected to attract more than 80,000 visitors. The airline industry as a whole is recovering from last year’s roughly $138bn net loss.

The exhibition will also see the participation of defence and military hardware from countries like the US, Russia and Israel.

More than 100 companies from the US, including defence firms Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, will showcasing their products at one of the the biggest shows in the Middle East.

Israeli companies displayed their hardware for the first time at the show, following Israel’s normalisation of diplomatic ties with the UAE last year. The state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries company showed off a range of manned and unmanned naval and aerial drones.