Global Aerospace Summit highlights tech advances

May 2, 2018

The ongoing Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE is showcasing how technological advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, block chain and connectivity are transforming the aerospace, aviation, space and defence industries.

The importance of partnerships, collaborations and youth engagement were highlighted by a number of key participants including Mubadala, Etihad Aviation Group, Lockheed Martin, UAE Space Agency, Facebook, Hyperloop One and many others.

Mohammed bin Ahmad Al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs welcomed international guests to the UAE, where a knowledge based economy has formed a central national focus. He pointed out the fact that the UAE is the first country to appoint a minister for artificial intelligence, and highlighted an ambitious goal of establishing a settlement on Mars by 2117.

He commented: “The UAEs vision attracts global investments, and has produced infrastructure that meets international standards. We must face challenges hand in hand with our international partners, especially those that share in our ambitious visions.

“The UAE is pioneering with competitive technologies, providing diverse opportunities for Emirati nationals. Unfortunately there is instability around the world. In such circumstances, collaboration and coalition are essential for overcoming this. The UAE is determined to work with partners to provide resolution for all parties. The diverse transportation networks and services, as well as the welcoming legislative environment, have enabled us to succeed in realizing our vision.”

Khaled Al Qubaisi, chief executive officer, Aerospace, Renewables & ICT for Mubadala said that it is expected to see an annual growth of 6 per cent in air traffic for the next 2 decades, that’s 30 per cent above the global average.

He added: “The UAE has the largest and one of the youngest fleet of aircraft in the region, …and its aviation industry alone… is valued at $80 billion - providing nearly half a million of direct and indirect jobs to a population of only 9 million. And by 2025 it should account for 16 per cent of the nation's GDP, and that’s the aviation sector alone without including the space and defence... as you can see aerospace and its related industries will continue to be a key pillar of our economy as we forge ahead into the future.”

Tony Douglas, Group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group said: “This is one of the most competitive industries. Many airline brands no longer exist. At Etihad Airways, we have built something that is truly special and thrived for the past 15 years, but there is always a need to innovate, innovate and innovate.

“There is a huge tourism proposition on offer here in Abu Dhabi, and the higher aviation committee has already succeeded in connecting those offerings with airline and airport alike. The geography plays to our advantage as well. Two thirds of the world’s population live within a 6 hour radius. In our line of work, the network is all important. I believe the fundamentals are in place so that anyone who has an innovative and competitive product to offer can succeed.”

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of FlyDubai said: “We have developed our nation by taking part of our geographical location in the world. Over the past 10 years, we have managed to establish a network of 95 locations, 60 of which were not previously served. About 600,000 people benefited from our code share agreement with Emirates, which has resulted in a combined network of more than 200 destinations. Collaboration with international governments has also been productive.”

Harj Dhaliwa, Managing Director Middle East & India, ?Hyperloop One spoke about his company offering a brand new mode of transport. Combining space, aerospace and rail engineering technology into one. He said: “We will be giving time back. 300 to 500 kilometres can be done in half an hour. It will disrupt logistics, cargo, the way we plan and move and how we get to work. It will be bring jobs, economic growth and opportunities. We have proven the technology works.”

The Global Aerospace Summit is an exclusive, invitation-only event for C-level executives, senior decision makers and government officials involved with the aerospace, aviation, defence and space industries. The 2018 edition, the fourth in this biennial series, is taking place from April 30 to May 2 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.