TIM ROBINSON provides a look at some news and and highlights ahead of the first trade day at the Dubai Air Show 2017.

While the Dubai Air Show only officially opens on Sunday 12 November, already some news is starting to come in. Lets take a look at some of the top stories as the show opens.

Rolls-Royce to open new Abu Dhabi customer support centre

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Rolls is set to get closer to airline customers in the region. (Aldar)

As part of an ongoing process of enhancing its customer support offerings, engine maker Rolls-Royce is to open a new Customer Service Centre (CSC) in Abu Dhabi. The new CSC in Abu Dhabi will help support Rolls' fast growing customer base in the Middle East. It already supports 469 aircraft with 34 operators in the region and the installed engine count is set to jump from 3,700 in 2016 to 7,850 in 2026, with the Middle East one of the fastest growing markets. While you might think that in the age of Skype, videoconferencing and 24/7 support from Rolls-Royce's main Aircraft Availability Centre in Derby, regional centres would be less important, Rolls says that investing in local support pays off. Its Singapore CSC for example, has seen 80% of issues resolved locally, with response time now 75% faster. This means that R-R representatives can be on the ground with the customer "in hours, instead of days" - a vital factor in a business where small amounts of time are big money.

Raytheon discovers local cyberwarriors

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Tapping into the regions cyber skills (Raytheon)

Raytheon has released the results of a new survey that claims that young adults in the UAE are more likely to choose a career in cybersecurity than their peers elsewhere in the world. Commissioned by Raytheon, Forcepoint and the US National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the ‘Securing Our Future: Cybersecurity and the Millennial Workforce’ poll questioned 3,359 young adults aged 18 to 26 from nine different countries. Raytheon is working with students at Khalifa University of Science & Technology under Raytheon’s global Cyber Academy, which opened in the UAE in 2016 and whose courses include cyber skills workshop and thought leadership lectures. More details of the survey can be found on: www.raytheon.com/CyberWorkforce.

A slower way to see the UAE...

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Get away from the hustle and bustle below (Spirit of the Emirates)

With Mars missions, aerial taxis and futuristic skyscrapers, Dubai and the UAE may seem like a place constantly in the fast lane. However, from November 2018 there will be a more tranquil, quieter way to experience the UAE with the launch of luxury sightseeing Zeppelin airship flights by 'Spirit of the Emirates'. The airships will be able to fly up to ten passengers at a time, and the company says that the first 100 days of flights could potentially see up to 15,000 passengers flown, enjoying the sights of the desert, cities and UAE coastline. Operations are planned in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the sightseeing experience is also set to be enhanced for passengers with a custom augmented reality app, to highlight landmarks.

Lighter launchers on show

US rocket launcher supplier Arnold Defense will be displaying its new, ultra-light LWL-XII and M260 2.75-inch/70mm weapon systems. Claiming to be the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers, Arnold Defense has manufactured over 1.1m 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the US Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as many NATO customers.

Shell Aviation wins Oman deal

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Fueling ambition. (Shell Aviation)

Shell Aviation has announced the signing of a fuelling concession agreement to operate new into-plane and fuel farm facilities as the sole jet fuel supplier at Salalah International Airport in Oman. Shell Aviation also supplies jet fuel to Muscat Airport in Oman.


VistaJet sees bright future

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Catering to Middle East business aviation growth (VistaJet)

Global business aviation specialists VistaJet has announced positive results for the Middle East, highlighting the global trend of individuals and corporations moving away from fractional and full aircraft ownership. The company has doubled its New Program hours year over year, with a 50% increase in customers. A full flying service is now available in and out of Saudi Arabia as expansion continues.

Pilot training – the Emirates way

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The Phenom 100EV will provide jet experience for pilots heading to Emirates' big jets. (Emirates)

Dubai-based super carrier Emirates may, of course, be most strongly associated with the Airbus A380 (with the Boeing 777 coming a close second) but this year's air show sees the airline highlight some of its other aircraft within the wider group – particularly in its training, where the airline helps lead the world in adopting the best practices for training its pilots. On display at the air show, and fresh from being delivered to Emirates Flight Training College on 8 November is the first Embraer Phenom 100EV for this flight training school. Emirates ordered five of these small bizjets to provide entry-level jet training to potential airline pilots and its state-of-the art College, located near Dubai World Central is also set to operate 22 Cirrus SR22 piston trainers, of which six have been delivered.

Boeing debuts Starliner simulator in Dubai

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Fancy a go at piloting this? (Boeing)

While previous Dubai air shows have Boeing airliners and military jets showcased (and this year is no exception with the 787-10 Dreamliner making its first visit) visitors to the air show will also be able to try their hand at docking with the ISS, with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner simulator. Developed as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Programme and headed by the last commander of Space Shuttle Atlantis, Chris Ferguson, the Starliner is one of two US-built spacecraft, that sometime in 2018 will fly US astronauts from US soil to the ISS. Crucially as well as a taxi service for NASA, extra seats will also be available for commercial opportunities or 'sovereign astronauts'. Boeing are also integrating virtual reality into CST-100 Starliner training, allowing astronauts to train together from anywhere in the world, without having to physically be together. 

Lufthansa checks in with Etihad

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Etihad A380 checks are now open to all. (Etihad Airways Engineering)

Another MRO milestone ahead of the show has seen work start on the first third party Airbus A380 C-Check at Airbus' and Etihad Airways Engineering joint MRO partnership in Abu Dhabi. An A380 from Lufthansa being the first customer for this six-year overhaul and is one of the first examples of Airbus's recently enveiled 'MRO Alliance' where third-party providers can offer support and overhauls while being backed by the OEM itself.

Jet Aviation opens new DWC FBO

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Ready for the big opening at Jet Aviation Dubai.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year is General Dynamics-owned veteran business aviation services provider Jet Aviation, which is set to officially open a new shared VIP bizjet terminal at Dubai South (DWC) on 13 November. Jet Aviation will retain its existing FBO and MRO facilty at Dubai International, which currently handles 200 movements a month, but says Hardy Butschi, VP and GM of Jet Aviation's Dubai MRO/FBO, he expects this to spilt '50/50' in the future as customers migrate to the new DWC terminal. Extra space, fewer constraints on slots and long and short term parking as well as the state-of-the-art facility which includes three customer lounges, conference room and crew operations centre and prayer rooms, will help Jet Aviation maintain its reputation for world class service.


Mubadala's French connections

The Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Company is to join CDC International Capital in a new investment vehicle aimed at private and direct investments in the French economy. The agreement was signed during the official visit of the French President to Abu Dhabi with the objective of developing an integrated platform with a target investment capacity of up to €1bn.


World’s largest aviation security database launched

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Integration with flight planning software makes airspace threat and risk assessment easier. (OspreyFS)

In related news from IATA's Avsec conference taking place at Abu Dhabi, this week also sees the launch of a new aviation security alert service from UK company OspreyFS – which merges automated datamining with expert human analysis to provide airspace threat information from everyone from major airlines, to small, one aircraft business operators. The service, driven by the failings in security sharing and timeliness of ICAOs airspace warning system in the wake of the shootdown of MH17 in 2014, constantly trawls 200,000 sources in 60 languages to provide up-to-date warnings of risks such as SAM threats, conflict zones, airport attacks, and even now drone incidents. It also, crucially integrates with flight planning software, allowing dispatchers, crews and operations centres to see easily potential risks (or lack thereof) along a flight path. OspreyFS say that this is probably the largest and most sophisticated aviation security database outside national intelligence agencies.


The Royal Aeronautical Society at Dubai

Grab your copy of November AEROSPACE at the show!

The Royal Aeronautical Society, which has a local Branch in the UAE, will also be at the Dubai Air Show, on Stand 2018. Come along and find out about individual and corporate membership, inquire our professional development and career services and pick up a copy of AEROSPACE magazine.


And Finally....

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Separated at birth?

Desert, smog, skyscrapers and flying cars contributed to the return of an iconic scifi film in 2017. Dubai already has three of these and is now working on the fourth....



Stay ahead of all the news

To follow all the news at Dubai don’t forget to bookmark www.aerosociety.com and follow the daily airshow news on the Insight blog. For those on Twitter, follow @AeroSociety and use the hashtag #DAS17. Editor-in-Chief Tim Robinson will be tweeting live from the show on @RAeSTimR

Tim Robinson and Bill Read
12 November 2017

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