1986: Signalling an increased regional focus on the aviation industry, Dubai Airshow started life as a small civil aviation exhibition under the name Arab Air, with the first edition hosted at Dubai World Trade Centre by organiser F&E in 1986.
1989: Spurred by considerable investment in Middle East civil and military aviation, the first Dubai Airshow was held in 1989 at Dubai International Airport. The event covered around 7000 square metres in total, including a large hall with 200 exhibitors and dedicated space for 25 aircraft. The event attracted more than 10,000 industry-only visitors.
1991: Following the success of Dubai Airshow 1989, word-of-mouth quickly spread and the next edition in 1991 became three times larger than its predecessor. The event was initially scheduled for January, although it was moved to November after the Gulf War broke out. A total of 400 companies still participated, along with 67 aircraft, while grounds were expanded to 20,000 square metres.
1993: After the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) was launched in Abu Dhabi, with a focus on land and naval military equipment, the 1993 edition of Dubai Airshow was centred more heavily on aviation and aerospace. The event covered 28,000 square metres, with 84 aircraft and 450 exhibitors from 33 countries, while visitor numbers of 20,000 were reported.
1995: Dubai Airshow covered 30,000 square metres in 1995, around 10% more than the previous edition, with numerous upgrades at the event site to accommodate demand. The show attracted 500 exhibitors, 104 aircraft and 25,000 visitors.
1999: The event was titled Dubai Airshow 2000 in recognition of the new millennium, even though the year was 1999. It also moved to Airport Expo, a purpose-built home that could accommodate future growth. Five-hundred companies exhibited, together with 80 aircraft, while more than 30,000 visitors attended.
2001: Despite the impact of a global aviation slowdown as a result of September 11 2001, Dubai Airshow was still hailed a success, albeit with a slightly reduced number of exhibitors at 450 companies. With strong support from the world’s leading aerospace players, the event closed its run with a record order intake of US$15.6 billion.
2003: Dubai Airshow 2003 was the fastest-selling in the event’s history, with 550 companies participating from 36 countries along with 13 national pavilions. More than 27,000 visitors attended, together with 85 aircraft on static display.
2005: Dubai Airshow 2005 hosted the Middle East debut of the Airbus A380 and featured around 726 exhibitors from 46 countries, with 15 national pavilions. To cope with demand, a central hall was developed, creating an additional 10,000 square metres to the site. More than 100 aircraft were featured, including around 40 business jets, while disclosed on-site orders totalled US$21.3 billion – the highest ever for a Dubai Airshow.
2007: The tenth Dubai Airshow was held in 2007. The show smashed all previous records with more than US$155 billion worth of deals announced. In total, 850 exhibitors participated from 50 countries around the world, with 11 national pavilions and more than 140 aircraft.
2009: By 2009, the Dubai Airshow was hosting a record 890 exhibitors from 47 countries. Floor-space was expanded by more than 7000 square metres, while around 53,000 visitors attended. The event closed with an onsite order-book in excess of US$14 billion.
2011: Two years ago saw the debut of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the Middle East. Attracting 56,548 visitors (a 7% increase) and 960 exhibitors from 50 countries (an 8% increase), Dubai Airshow 2011’s order book hit a staggering US$63.3 billion. A new feature to be introduced was Futures Day. Launched on the final day of the show, this initiative was introduced to help build the next generation of aviators.
2013: What will this year’s Dubai Airshow bring? Well, for starters we are heading to its new home, the purpose-built facility at Dubai World Central, and it has been forecast the event will be the largest in its history. Taking place from November 17-21, the 13th edition of the Dubai Airshow will host up to 60,000 trade visitors and 1,000 exhibitors – up 5% and 7% respectively from 2011.