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The Dubai Airshow 2023: Complete Roundup of Aviation News

Daniel Ross's image
Daniel Ross
Daniel Ross's image

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

679 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
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Juan Ruiz

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The Dubai Airshow is back and bigger than ever.

Located at the city’s Dubai World Central Airport (DWC), the 5-day extravaganza kicked off on Monday, November 13, and continues to hit the headlines with some big announcements.

We’re on the ground all week, bringing you the latest content and news to come out of the air show, so be sure to bookmark this piece and check out Upgraded Points’ Instagram for more AvGeek goodness.

The Dubai Airshow: What Is It?

You could almost compare an air show to a huge conference, but it is way more exciting. They occur worldwide, some of the most famous being in Paris and Farnborough in the U.K.

Dubai Airshow 1
Hashtag Dubai Airshow. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

The Dubai Airshow is an industry-wide meeting of manufacturers, airlines, media, and more, where big announcements are made, business deals are struck, and a lot of networking is done.

What’s on at the Dubai Airshow 2023

Days are jam-packed with several events happening at once: from panel discussions and press conferences to aircraft tours and flying displays, there’s a lot to take in.

Panel Discussions

Each day, a number of industry experts, including airline CEOs and senior executives, are invited to discuss various topics, with sustainability and the environment being a core discussion point at this year’s air show.

Dubai Air Show Aerospace 2050
One of the first panels of the day was on how leaders in the industry plan to tackle carbon emissions together. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

On Monday, we saw executives from aircraft manufacturers Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer explaining how each plans to achieve lofty carbon reduction goals.

Dubai Air Show Embraer
Rodrigo Silva e Souza, vice president of marketing at Embraer, details the manufacturer’s roadmap to a sustainable future. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Is it a bird, or is it a plane? No, it’s Airbus’ proposed new aircraft carrier that will be used for transporting parts across the Atlantic.

Dubai Air Show 2023 Airbus Boat
Coming soon to an Atlantic coastline near you. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

According to Julie Kitcher, Airbus’ Executive Vice President of Communications, Sustainability, and Corporate Affairs, this advanced vessel is expected to cut down Airbus’ emissions from transporting parts by 50%. She shared this exciting news during the event on Monday.

The 2-day Sustainability Conference came to a close on Tuesday with a talk by John Nilsson from Swedavia — the group that owns 10 airports in Sweden.

John Nilsson talking at the Dubai Airshow
It’s encouraging to hear real progress being made in making aviation more sustainable. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

He is passionate about making aviation sustainable and firmly believes that with the measures that Swedavia and the rest of the country are taking that all domestic flights in Sweden could be fossil fuel-free by 2030!

Flying Displays

No air show would be complete without a flying display, and Dubai 2023 kicked off the first show with a fantastic display.

Dubai Air Show fly passed
The first of the commercial jets to fly past the crowds at the Dubai Airshow 2023 was an Emirates Airbus A380, followed by the colors of the UAE. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

This is one of the most exciting features of an air show, where you can get up close and personal with all types of aircraft as they perform aerial displays that you wouldn’t ordinarily get to see.

Dubai Air Show Fly Passed Colors
Liquid smoke in the colors of the UAE flag. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

It’s also a chance for manufacturers, such as Airbus, to show off what their aircraft can do.

Dubai Airshow Airbus A350X 1
An Airbus A350-1000 banks sharply over the Dubai Airshow. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

The amazing displays are able to go ahead thanks to skilled air traffic controllers high up in the tower of Dubai’s DWC Airport, which is located right on-site.

ATC tower at Duabi Airshow
As is always the case in aviation, safety comes first! Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Static Aircraft Displays and Tours

Air shows are also a chance for airlines and manufacturers, such as Airbus and Boeing, to put their aircraft on display for all to see. This includes one of the most hotly anticipated jets of modern times — the Boeing 777X.

Those with a keen eye may notice a new addition to the tail fins on the side of the aircraft.

Dubai Airhow Boeing 777X 1
Our guess is as good as yours as to when the first passenger-carrying Boeing 777X will take to the skies. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

The retractable wingtip is a true feat of engineering.

Dubai Airshow Beoing 777X wingtip 1
The mind boggles. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

As for airlines, there was a strong Middle Eastern presence, with Emirates taking center stage.

Dubai Air Show Emirates Airbus A380
Emirates, the largest operator of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, proudly displays its version, complete with new livery, at the Dubai Airshow 2023. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

This is unsurprising, given that Dubai is Emirates’ hub. The carrier had the most visible presence, with both its Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 on display.

Dubai Airshow Emirates Boeing 777 and Airbus A380
The unmistakable tailfins of Emirates Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 in brand-new livery. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

FlyDubai, a fellow Dubai-based airline and recent new partner of Air Canada, had its 50th Boeing 737 MAX on display at the start of the week.

Dubai Airshow FlyDubai 50th MAX 2
FlyDubai’s 50th Boeing 737 MAX. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Just look at FlyDubai’s vibrant colors!

Dubai Airshow FlyDubai livery
FlyDubai’s bright orange and hues of blue work surprisingly well together. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Some, like Etihad’s newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner — complete with updated business and economy class products — are only there to be admired from the outside unless you’re lucky enough to receive an invite for a sneak peek. Other jets are on display for the media and visitors alike to look around.

Dubai Airshow Etihad Boeing Dreamliner 787 1
“Viewing by invitation only.” Image Credit: Daniel Ross

In fact, on Thursday, we managed to get ourselves an invite inside this very Etihad Boeing 787-9. You can expect the full scoop live on Upgraded Points on Friday morning.

Inside the newest Etihad Boeing 789 with updated business and economy cabins
Can you notice anything different already? Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, we were among just a handful of lucky media to get a sneak peek inside Beond’s Airbus A319, which will depart to Europe for the first time on November 15, 2023.

Here’s a first look at Beond’s gorgeous aircraft at the Dubai Airshow!

Beond cabin interior Dubai Airshow 2023
Inside Beond’s first and only Airbus A319. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Beond isn’t the only start-up airline with a presence at the air show. Standing proud in the lineup of static aircraft is Riyadh Air’s Dreamliner — adorned in its striking purple livery. The Saudi Arabian airline, based in Riyadh, announced its launch as an airline in March 2023.

Dubai Airshow Riyadh Air Dreamliner
Riyadh Air’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Riyadh Air’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner is sparkling new!

Dubai Air Show Riyadh Air engine
Up close and personal with the engines of a Riyadh Air Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

The air show also provided an opportunity for Upgraded Points to catch up with James Asquith — the founder and CEO of U.K.-based Global Airlines.

James Asquith of Global Airlines
James Asquith and Daniel Ross pose for a photo after their interview on Wednesday at the Dubai Airshow. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

News and Announcements

Perhaps the most exciting part of an air show for journalists comes in the way of the many announcements and updates, such as new livery designs, aircraft orders, and more.

New From Thursday, November 16

The excitement of aircraft orders is usually squeezed into the first few days of an airshow so Emirates’ last-minute announcement of an order of an additional 15 Airbus A350-900s came as quite a surprise.

News From Tuesday, November 14

Tuesday morning kicked off with the signing of a deal between Egyptair and Boeing for 10 Airbus A350-900s.

Dubai Airshow Egyptair Order
Yehia Zakaria, Egyptair chairman and CEO, and Christian Scherer, Airbus CCO, confirm the airline’s order of 10 Airbus A350-900s at the Dubai Airshow. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Along with the airline’s 7 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the addition of these new Airbus A350-900 jets will mean that the majority of the airline’s long-haul aircraft will be made up of modern, more fuel-efficient jets.

Egyptair currently flies to 4 airports in North America: New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Toronto (YYZ), and Washington, D.C. (IAD).

News From Monday, November 13

Riyadh Air has not yet commenced operations, but it decided to reveal its stunning second livery on the Dubai Airshow 2023 opening day.

Riyadh Air livery
Riyadh Air’s second livery, which will take flight for the first time in 2025. Image Credit: Riyadh Air

Notable Aircraft Orders

On Monday, FlyDubai kicked off with a historic $11 billion order for no less than 30 Boeing 787-9s — its first-ever long-haul aircraft.

FlyDubai Dreamliner
FlyDubai Dreamliner. Image Credit: FlyDubai

The low-cost carrier has a wide route network with its narrow-body jets, and it is expected to expand even further with the addition of new long-haul routes when the airline receives its order of wide-body jets.

Final Thoughts

We’ll be updating this piece regularly over the course of the week, so stay tuned for more news and exciting aviation content.

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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