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Sunday, February 5, 2023

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Global airline industry meets in Dubai under pressure from pandemic and climate change

The Dubai air show, the first of importance after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, opens its doors on Sunday at a time when the sector is trying to recover from the ravages of the coronavirus and is pressured by climate change.

The collapse of air traffic in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic paralyzed airlines due to the absence of passengers.

The number of people who have returned to travel by plane increases every month, although in September it was still 53% lower than in September 2019, before the pandemic.

International flights continue to suffer various restrictions depending on the States they are going to and their volume is 69% less than that registered before the arrival of the coronavirus. Domestic flights, which are simpler from a health point of view, register 24% less traffic.

This makes us think that once the travel restrictions are lifted, we will have strong demand from passengers.”, He confided Willie Walsh, general director of the International Air Transport Association (THERE IT IS).

No surprises

Due to this crisis, airlines will suffer global losses of US $ 51.8 billion this year, according to the association.

Traffic will only return to its prepandemic level between 2023 and 2025. In this context, it is difficult to obtain large aircraft orders, as was typical in these large salons.

There can always be surprises, but I don’t expect big, extraordinary announcements“, said Walsh.

Despite everything, Airbus and Boeing reach Dubai with important news. The first with its A321neo and A350 and Boeing with the 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner.

The American manufacturer brought its future 777X large-capacity aircraft from Seattle, which has not yet obtained certification. The Middle East is an important market for this aircraft model, which was launched at the 2013 edition of the Dubai show. Two-thirds of 777X orders come from Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

Weakened by a succession of internal crises, “Boeing needs good news, announce things“, Explain Michel Merluzeau, expert in the consultancy AIR.

So it may be time to launch a cargo version of the 777X to counter the announcement of Airbus of the commercialization of a cargo version of its A350.

At a time of difficulties in supply chains due to the coronavirus, air freight is registering good figures and is an important source of profit for airlines.

Climatic pressure

In this context of climatic urgency that generates strong pressure in the sector, the European manufacturer chose to present a model of an airplane called ZEROe, which will be a reality in 2035 and will fly thanks to hydrogen and not kerosene, that is to say, no it will emit carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas.

Boeing will present its ‘ecoDemonstrator’, a 737 MAX that will be a kind of flying laboratory to test new ecologically correct technologies.

In October, THERE IT IS, which brings together 290 companies representing 83% of world traffic, pledged to reach the level of “Zero net CO2 emissions” by 2050 as a way to combat climate change.

This goal opens up new perspectives for builders as airlines will invest in newer aircraft, which consume less fuel and therefore emit less CO2.

In this hall in Dubai there will also be a place for the defense sector, at a time when the importation of weapons has increased by 25% in the last five years, according to the Stockholm International Institute for Peace Research (Sipri).

During this meeting, the main constructors of the sector will present helicopters for transport of troops or attack, tankers and fighter-bombers.

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