Bahrain International Airshow returns for its fourth edition this month at Sakhir Airbase in Bahrain. The event plays host to 40 purpose-built luxury chalets with direct access to the aircraft static display area, along with the Exhibition Feature Hall.
This hall has been almost doubled in size from the previous edition due to increased demand.
The presence of more than 90 aircraft is already confirmed, with some of the world’s most modern aircraft set to be on display.
“Since the first show in 2010, the show has grown from strength to strength,” says Ahmed Al Nemah, Acting Undersecretary for Civil Aviation Affairs, Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications.
“We are expecting participation at this show to be higher than ever before due to a number of new elements being introduced for the first time this show. This includes a Hosted Buyer Programme, and two conferences.
“In addition, we have succeeded in attracting delegations from more countries than previous shows, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and India,” he added.
The show takes place every two years and its timing has been fitted around other events in an effort to make it a ‘must attend’. BIAS 2016 takes place against the backdrop of the planned ‘Airport Modernisation Program’ and an improvement in Gulf Air’s financial performance. The 2014 event saw around US $3 billion of deals taking place and organisers are confident that figure will be exceeded this time.
Last time round, 89 aircraft were on static display and a total of 106 aircraft (flying and static) participated in the show. Visitor numbers reached record highs with more than 30,000 people attending the trade show and at least 20,000 visiting the public event.
Gulf Air, Batelco and the Bahrain Airport Company were amongst the key attendees, and major announcements included the sale of 16 Bombardier CS300 aircraft to Saudi Gulf Airlines and the announcement of an agreement regarding the construction of Khartoum International Airport.
BIAS16 will see its largest international participation to date with representation from the US, UK, France, India, Kuwait, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Turkey.
Significantly, the Saudi Arabian presence is expected to be larger this year, with Saudi Arabian Airlines participating for the first time, as well as a number of other Saudi companies who will be brought together by the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority.
Amongst the multi-national organisations exhibiting are Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Finmeccanica, Lockheed Martin, Turkish Aerospace Industries and Thales Group.
New participants include Augusta Westland, Alphastar, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Taiwan External Trade Development Council. Other new exhibitors include Turkey’s Eskan Electronics; specialist video surveillance systems company, Indigovision; and MRO businesses such as Joramco and Rusada.
A strong lineup of both commercial and military aircraft will be on display. On the commercial side, Qatar Airways will bring Airbus A380 and A350 planes, Gulf Air will have an A320 on display and Kuwait Airways will also bring an A350 and its recently delivered A320 equipped with ‘sharklets’, new wing tips that increase fuel efficiency. Business aircraft from Embrear, Gulf Stream and TAG Aeronautics are also set to star.
Military aircraft include a T129 ATAK helicopter from Turkish Aircraft Industries, a Eurofighter Typhoon from the RAF and an number of aircraft of the US Airforce and US Navy.
Aerobatic display teams include the Russian Knights, the Saudi Hawks, UAE’s Al Fursan and India’s Sarang Helicopter Display Team.
To further the event’s appeal this time round, BIAS 2016 is creating more networking opportunities. The Air Transport in the 21st Century conference will take place on day two of the show and will cover some of the major issues affecting the Middle East aerospace industry.
Session one of the conference will focus on Airlines and Passenger Experience and sees Kuwait Airways’ Philip Saunders; Qatar Airways’ Akbar Al Baker, Tamur Goudarzi-Pour from Lufthansa Middle East and Paul Byrne from Flymas confirmed as panellists. They will discuss some of the major issues affecting Middle Eastern carriers, including increased competition, passenger experience, deregulation and Open Skies agreements.
The second session will focus on Middle East Airports and Airspace and features a panellist of Middle East aviation industry experts, including Ahmed Al Nemah from Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications’ Civil Aviation Affairs; Richard Philips from Serco; Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah from Bahrain Airport Company; John Swift from NATS; Alan Corner from Helio and Salvatore Scervo from Selex ES.
On the third day of the show, IATA will be holding a special seminar regarding its new Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) programme.
Based on its internationally recognised IOSA programme, it will allow operators of smaller aircraft to participate in and benefit from this safety assessment standard.
The Hosted Buyer programme is an opportunity for buyers and suppliers to make direct face-to-face contact through a series of pre-arranged meetings organised by a dedicated team at the show.
“Such events have proved extremely popular and profitable for those involved at other shows and we hope to provide that same success at BIAS16,” says Al Nemah.
Taking place the day before BIAS16 opens, the Manama Air Power Symposium (MAPS) will see air force chiefs and senior government officials in Bahrain discuss the most pressing priorities for regional Air Forces, including Close Air Support for Asymmetric Warfare Environments, New Generation Standoff Targeting Weapons, Enhancing Air-Sea Combined Operations, Search and Rescue Operations in Hostile Environments, and the role of UAVs in enhancing situational awareness.
Organisers have invited 24 air chiefs and military leaders from 20 countries to attend this and are confident the event will be a valuable knowledge exchange platform for all participants.
Attendees at MAPS have all been invited to the BIAS as part of its delegations programme and will participate in programmed visits to all participants and exhibitors at the show.