Held under the theme: ‘The Future of the Aerospace Industry’, the 18th edition of Dubai Airshow features a AAM pavilion this year in addition to the aerospace, space, and defence pavilions
Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), urban air mobility (UAM), and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft are gaining prominence as the world looks to more advanced and sustainable forms of transport to address growing urbanisation and climate change impacts.
According to Precedence Research, a consultancy firm, the global unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drones market size was estimated at $22.68bn in 2021 and is expected to hit over $102.38bn by 2030, with a registered compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2 per cent over the forecast period 2022 to 2030. Similarly, the global advanced air mobility (AAM) market is expected to witness significant growth over the 2023-2030 period, thanks to the acceleration of the market for passenger transportation that will see the definition of necessary regulations to enable full-scale commercialisation in the second half of the decade.
According to estimates from Strategy&, the expected 34 per cent CAGR for the 2025-2030 period should bring the global AAM market value up to EUR55.2bn in 2030.
Dubai Airshow features a dedicated AAM pavilion
The 2023 edition of Dubai Airshow, being held from November 13 to 17, at Dubai World Central (DWC), will also prominently feature this category of aerial vehicles.
Held under the theme: ‘The Future of the Aerospace Industry’, the 18th edition of Dubai Airshow reflects the rising focus on AAM and UAM solutions, featuring a dedicated AAM pavilion this year in addition to the aerospace, space, and defence pavilions.
Aerial transport solutions ranging from drones, UAVs, UAMs and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) will all be on display.
Visitors can also look forward to a flying display by eVTOL craft is set to be one of the highlights of the Dubai Airshow.
Dubai Airshow will also feature an AAM conference, which will see industry thought leaders and experts sharing views and insights on the transformative technologies, regulations, and infrastructure that could provide the launchpad for AAM adoption at scale.
How Dubai and Abu Dhabi are leading the transition
In 2017, Dubai conducted a test flight of a driverless flying vehicle to be introduced by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Earlier this year, Dubai announced plans to launch air taxis in Dubai in just over three years. The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) also collaborated to establish the world’s first AAM integrator world centre in Dubai. In December 2022, VPorts signed an exclusive 25-year lease agreement with MBRAH, renewable for a further 25 years, to establish the state-of-the-art AAM centre on a 37,000-square-metre site in Dubai South.
In February this year, Dubai’s RTA also announced its conceptual design of aerial taxi vertiports.
Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, said: “This is aligned with our broader vision for Dubai, as outlined in the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to transform the city into one of the world’s top three urban economies. The integration of aerial taxis into our urban infrastructure will create a cohesive, multimodal transportation network that demonstrates Dubai’s readiness to embrace new technologies while keeping sustainability and the wellbeing of its residents at the forefront.”
When ready, the new infrastructure will make Dubai the first city in the world with a fully developed network of vertiports.
Capable of achieving top speeds of 300 km/hr and a maximum range of 240 km, the aerial taxis will accommodate four passengers in addition to the pilot.
The initial network of vertiports is expected to connect four main areas of Dubai, namely Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, Dubai International Airport and Palm Jumeirah.
“The regulatory and safety aspects of aerial taxi operations will be studied at length and a clear framework evolved well in advance to deliver pathbreaking services while ensuring the highest level of public satisfaction,” Al Tayer added.
In October, Abu Dhabi launched the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industries (SAVI) cluster at Masdar City. The SAVI cluster aims to position Abu Dhabi as a leading smart and autonomous vehicles hub. It will support innovation and the commercialisation of smart and autonomous vehicle technologies in the country, providing advanced facilities and value-added services within an enabling regulatory environment.
Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), said: “SAVI is projected to contribute Dhs90-120bn to the UAE economy and generate 30,000-50,000 jobs, which will create an extended ripple effect benefitting various sectors, and taking our smart, diversified, sustainable Falcon Economy to new heights.”