Dubai Airshow off to a flying start

Event set to welcome more than 87,000 visitors over the next five days in which 1,300 exhibitors are taking part

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Abdul Basit

Dubai Airshow 2019 was officially opened this afternoon, Sunday 17 November, by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces.

Also in attendance was Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who joined his father for the start of an inaugural tour of the site, set to welcome 1,288 exhibitors and more than 87,000 trade visitors over the next five days.

Joined by Michele van Akelijen, Managing Director of Dubai Airshow organisers Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East and Major General Abdulla Al Hashmi, Assistant Undersecretary for Support Services at the UAE Ministry of Defence, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid met with a number of exhibitors, starting with Lockheed Martin executives.

Hala Zarganie, who is the first Emirati engineer to be hired by Lockheed Martin in the UAE following an internship, spoke to His Highness along with a group of Emirati interns about the work of the firm’s Masdar City-based Center for Innovation and Security Solutions (CISS).

Highlighting the importance of the facility’s work, the firm’s Middle East Chief Executive, Robert Harward, said: “Lockheed Martin’s biggest investment in the UAE is in its human capital.”

His Highness also met exhibitors at the Yuzhnoye Design Office from Ukraine, the UAE Ministry of Defence, Boeing and Mubadala.

HH Sheikh Hamdan, meanwhile, visited officials in the USA Pavilion, where he was greeted by Kallman Worldwide CEO and President, Thomas J Kallman, and former astronaut, Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Col. Al Worden, USAF-Ret.

Presenting His Highness with a special patch commemorating the launch of the Endeavour Scholarship programme, whose first recipients will be announced tomorrow, Mr Kallman said: “Our pavilion is not just about hardware and military equipment. We presented Sheikh Hamdan with a patch to mark our Endeavour Scholarship, whereby four Emirati students and two teachers are being flown to the United States to attend space camp in Huntsville, Alabama. In partnership with the UAE space agency, those students were selected and the patch was created to commemorate that.”

Meanwhile, Colonel Worden presented HH Sheikh Hamdan with a commemorative coin made from the spaceship’s metal fuselage, similar to one presented to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in 2017.

Commenting on the official opening, Michele van Akelijen said: “It is an honour to welcome Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to officially open this year’s event. With more than 100 new exhibitors, innovative new product launches.” – abdulbasit@theuaenews.com