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Airshow promises economic boost for island
November 2009 2442

The inaugural Bahrain International Airshow will be launched in January bringing an estimated $13 million to the local economy, attracting up to 36,000 visitors and promising a world first in displaying unmanned aerial vehicles such as those used for military surveillance.

Running from January 21 to 23, 2010, the airshow will take place at the Royal Airfield at Sakhir and it is hoped the event will establish the island as a hub for the Middle Eastern aviation industry.

All 40 of the chalets in the main line have already been booked by influential international companies including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Boeing and Gulf Stream.

A further ten chalets, added with future expansion in mind, may also be brought into play.

The event is being organised by the kingdom’s Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) in partnership with Farnborough International Limited (FIL), which is responsible for one of the aviation world’s largest and best known events, the UK’s Farnborough Airshow.

Speaking on the decision to bring the airshow to Bahrain, Ahmed Nemat, Assistant Under Secretary for Civil Aviation Affairs, said: “Bahrain has always been a centre for aviation in the Middle East with the first international airport in the region.

“We are investing a great deal of time and resources into the, already strong, aviation infrastructure and this airshow will further strengthen and cement our position in the aviation industry.”

Amanda Stainer, FIL director, exhibitions & events said: “The level of interest and support we have had from the royals, the Bahrain defence community and the CAA has been extremely encouraging.

“I’m pleased to say all the main line chalets are booked out and we have also invited delegations from across the Gulf and around the world, potentially up to 60 countries could be represented.

“This event will offer participants the opportunity to meet with buyers at an extremely high level from governments, defence and commercial and civil aviation.

“We are also able to offer an airshow first in that, as well as the commercial and military aircraft on display, we will also be exhibiting, for the first time, unmanned aerial vehicles of the type used in surveillance, both civil and military which I am sure will be of great interest to many participants.”

The Bahrain show will differ from others in the region in that it will have no exhibition halls but participants will have the option of static parking their aircraft close the chalets and offering potential buyers test flights from the neighbouring runway.

They can also put their aircraft forward to take part in the daily flying display which is to be led by the Royal Jordanian Falcons display team.

National carrier Gulf Air has signed up to support the event and, as the show’s official carrier, will offer a 20 discount on flights to Bahrain for participants and show visitors.

Willy Boulter, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said: “The inaugural Bahrain International Airshow is an important event for both Bahrain and Gulf Air as 2010 marks 60 years of Bahrain civil aviation and 60 years of Gulf Air. We are therefore delighted to be offering delegates coming to this event a special fare on our flights.”

Stainer  continued: “We have also worked with the local cartel to ensure that the room rate does not suddenly rocket over the airshow weekend and have included a comprehensive public programme which will attract additional visitors.

“Obviously it is our first year but we hope to make Bahrain the airshow people must attend in future in order to do effective business.”

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