Briefs From Dubai Airshow 2021—Nov. 13

Credit: Aero HygenX

Anti-COVID Robot Heads for Dubai

An autonomous robotic system called RAY is making its Dubai Airshow debut this week as developer Aero HygenX and development partner De Havilland Canada promote the ultraviolet-light system as a quick and effective way of disinfecting aircraft cabins.

The RAY unit is a wheeled trolley equipped with vertical rods that emit UV-C, a short-wave ultraviolet light. UV-C radiation has a proven germicidal effect, and Aero HygenX says it is 99.9% effective on the pathogens that cause COVID-19, as well as MERS, SARS and Ebola, among other viruses. The system is disinfectant-free, which prevents degradation of cabin interiors, and the use of LIDAR and electro-optical sensors means the device can complete a full cabin disinfection run on its own. Depending on cabin size, a full cleanse can be completed in as little as five minutes.

DHC partnered with their fellow Canadians a year ago to develop a version of RAY that is optimized to work on board the airframer's Dash 8 series, including inside lavatories and crew rest areas. Earlier this month, Ethiopian Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding with the startup which will see the system deployed on the airline's entire fleet, and has the two companies partnering on local manufacture and regional distribution.

Dassault Flies In

A Rafale C fighter and a Falcon 8X which flew to Dubai on sustainable aviation fuel are among the highlights of Dassault's presence at this year’s Dubai Airshow. The Falcon appears in the static display, while the Rafale will be flown daily by the French Air Force. The airframer is also promoting its imminent 5,500-mi. (10,186-km) range Falcon 6X, scheduled to enter service towards the end of next year: a full-scale model of the cabin is in the static park. Falcons are popular in the region, and this year's show marks the first since Dassault strengthened its Middle Eastern business-jet maintenance offering by acquiring the ExecuJet and TAG MROs.

Aerospace Consortium Gives Emirates the EDGE

Two years after it was founded, the EDGE Group is celebrating becoming one of the top 25 military suppliers in the world. The consortium, made up of more than 25 of the UAE's aerospace and defense firms and employing a combined workforce of over 13,000, says it has the largest stand at Dubai Airshow, and for the second edition running is the show's Defense Technology Partner. “Our presence here as an official partner, and as a major exhibitor, underscores a nationwide vision which places the ‘Make it in the Emirates’ mantra, and the Industry 4.0 agenda, at the forefront of our collective efforts to ensure the UAE thrives economically as a world-leading hub of indigenous future technologies for the defence, civil aviation, and aerospace sectors,” said Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director of EDGE.

GANS and NATS Sign Strategic Pact

Abu Dhabi-based Global Air Navigation Services has signed a strategic framework agreement with NATS, the UK-headquartered air navigation services provider. The deal, struck during the World ATM Congress held at the end of October in Madrid, covers “mutually beneficial initiatives and projects that increase efficiency and delivers value to customers' operations across the Middle East,” according to a joint statement. Yahya Al Hammadi, CEO of GANS, said: “We see this partnership as a model for the future with increased industry collaboration which is a key ingredient for our industry to recover from the pandemic.”

MENA Technics Opens Saudi Office

MENA Technics has opened a branch office in Saudi Arabia, extending the reach of its certification, design, analysis and consultancy capabilities to the kingdom. The Bahrain-headquartered firm—part of MENA Aerospace Enterprises WLL—has made Saudi Arabia a key hub in its expansion strategy, with its associated freight airline, MENA Cargo, due to establish a service center there as well. “It is a remarkable achievement to extend MENA’s footprint to another country, beyond its headquarters in Bahrain and its presence in the UAE,” said Anil Kumar Dinesan, acting general manager and group chief financial officer of MENA Aerospace Enterprises. “Regardless of the setbacks imposed by the global pandemic, MENA has endured and even managed to thrive, continuing to build up its project portfolio with successful implementations, and investing in new projects as well.”

AirBP Broadens Middle Eastern Presence

At the Dubai Airshow in 2019, AirBP ran a demonstration of its Airfield Automation system at Dubai World Central: as the company returns to the show this week, the system is in use at two UAE airports. Sharjah International and Dubai International are both using the company's smartphone-based technology that prevents misfueling and, according to operators, increases refueling efficiency. Ahead of this year’s airshow, the company confirmed it has extended its concession to supply fuel at Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq until 2034, and has established an aircraft-fueling joint venture at Baghdad International. In September, the company launched a book-and-claim system enabling customers who wish to buy sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) but are refueling at airports that do not have a supply to pay the higher price for SAF and claim the carbon-reduction benefits, with the SAF going into the wing of another aircraft at a location where the fuel is available.

UAM Prototype Could Be a Bellwether

A working prototype of a private urban aircraft, the Antelope, is being unveiled in public for the first time at this year’s Dubai Airshow. The vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft has a hidden propulsion system and is being designed to carry passengers in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Details remain elusive on the project: the UK-based company's website says it was founded in 2019 but it claims development roots which go back to 2013. In a media release the company says the Antelope is a second design, following a hovercraft called the Gazelle. The prototypes have “completed multiple test flights... which monitored control capabilities,” according to the release. Company co-founder and chief of operations Kai-Tse Lin is speaking on a panel at the Airshow on Nov. 17 at 10:50 a.m.

Angus Batey

Angus Batey has been contributing to various titles within the Aviation Week Network since 2009, reporting on topics ranging from defense and space to business aviation, advanced air mobility and cybersecurity.