GCC States expected to invest US$60bn in Defence by 2010

Dubai, UAE: The international defence industry’s leading providers have pledged their support to Dubai Airshow 2009 – the world’s third largest aerospace event – as they look to offset tightening global economic conditions via increased opportunities in the Middle East’s buoyant defence market.

With Middle East states expected to invest approximately $60billion in defence this year - according to Forecast International - Eurofighter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and MBDA lead a contingent of more than 300 defence providers already signed up for Dubai Airshow 2009, which runs from 15th – 19th November 2009 at Dubai Airport Expo.

The sector’s major players will no doubt be eyeing the region’s largest and richest state, Saudi Arabia, which is forecasted to spend US$39 billion in 2009, rising to US$45 billion a year by 2013. The United Arab Emirates is expected to be the second largest GCC defence contributor, with US$9 billion this year.

“Despite falling oil prices and a harsher economic climate, the Middle East continues to be a strong area of opportunity for defence producers. This is clearly evidenced by the diverse showing of companies already signed up for Dubai Airshow 2009,” said Alison Weller, Director, F&E Aerospace, organisers of the biennial showcase.

One of Dubai Airshow’s key sales drivers is its pioneering Military Delegations programme. Devised by the UAE Defence Ministry and the UAE Air Force, the programme has facilitated unprecedented business between suppliers and customers in previous years.

By targeting defence ministers, air force commanders and chiefs of staff, the programme attracted 82 delegations representing 48 countries in 2007, with F&E Aerospace believing more can be expected this year: “The response to date for this initiative has been extremely encouraging and I am confident that this year we will see the largest delegation presence in the show’s history,” said Weller.

“Dubai Airshow affords exhibitors a unique opportunity to meet the highest level of decision makers in a business setting, something that could take a considerable amount of time to achieve through traditional channels.”

Currently, 90 percent of available space for Dubai Airshow 2009 has already been contracted, prompting organisers to announce that they will expand the Dubai Airport Expo site to accommodate additional growth.

In 2007, Dubai Airshow entered the record books when more than US$155 billion worth of deals were announced during the show’s five days - the highest ever for any global aviation event.

The show’s growth carried over to the exhibitors and attendees figures too, with over 850 exhibitors from 50 countries participating at the show – 130 of these being new to the region. Over 45,420 visitors attended over the five days - 10,000 more than in 2005

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