The big arms bazaar in the desert
In a departure from recent air shows in the region, Dubai 2015 didn’t really have a multi-billion dollar headline announcement from one of the GCC’s major airlines.
More the benefit for the defence journalists present who were delighted that military and civil security deals were the order of the week with Saab, AgustaWestland and Aeroland UAV all featuring heavily.
Not that there weren’t teething problems with the organisation, or location.
Imagine the mild sense of farce as hundreds of exhibitors, journalists and delegates are left queuing around the building as they try to gain entrance on the opening day of the show.
An intricate and fiendish crowd funneling system attempted its own recreation of the Large Hadron Collider by using the disparate tendrils of frustrated humanity as matter for its prism of officialdom, squeezing those present into a single condensed beam of focused anger. A word to the wise for 2017; more staff, more entrances, fewer frayed tempers.
There was some common sense in moving the show from its previous venue to the purpose-build Sheikh Al Maktoum Dubai World Central. More space for one. Room to expand even further the other. The down side to its remoteness means that fierce evening winds blast through the static display, it being the desert and all, and it takes a small era to get there in the first place.
Unless you like the charms of the free zone, baking warehouses and all, there are more picturesque locations to be. The exception to that is if you’re viewing the area from a Chinook 1000ft in the air, in which case it’s great.
So a thumbs up to Dubai then.
And because it’s based (near) the that most vertiginous of metropolises, the evening receptions by all accounts can be pretty decent too. Just ask Katy Perry.