Times were when Qatar Airways dominated the Dubai Airshow static display with a phalanx of its heavy metal drawn-up behind the front-line “minnows.” Airbus A330s, 350S and A380s; Boeing 777s and 787 Dreamliners, all emblazoned on the fin with the airline’s distinctive logo of an oryx’s head.

Gone, all gone.

Regional tensions have transformed Qatar Airways into the missing man in the “missing man formation”.

Today, it is the likes of Etihad Airways which dominates the Airshow and provides the static’s back-drop. The UAE's national airline is displaying three aircraft this year: Airbus A380, Airbus A320 “flying testbed”; and an Embraer Phenom 100EV from the Etihad Flight College (EFC).

Placing the royal seal of approval on this presence, the ‎aircraft were toured on the first day of the show by Lieutenant General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

 “We were delighted to welcome Royal guests who visited our aircraft on the opening day of the Dubai Airshow,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer. “We presented our groundbreaking interiors aboard the A380; innovation and technical excellence on our A320 testbed aircraft; and our Emirati ‎cadets from the Etihad Flight College whose engagement with visitors is a great source of national pride.”

It has been a busy time for Etihad.

*The static display A380 is the same aircraft ‎that took part in the spectacular low fly-by over the Louvre Abu Dhabi at the museum’s official opening last week.

 *An Airbus A320 “flying-testbed” in the static show has been converted to test and demonstrate WI-FLY+, the new, superfast inflight connectivity developed by Yahsat, the UAE based satellite operator.

 *Also here this week is Etihad Flight College’s Embraer Phenom 100E light jet. EFC was the first flight college in the world to conduct ab initio flight training on the aircraft.

And, if your interest lies elsewhere than in aviation, the static display also includes an F1 racing car promoting the forthcoming Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.