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Inaugural air show gets off to flying start

KUWAIT: Smoke in the shape of a heart is seen in the sky above a Qatar Airways plane during the Kuwait aviation show yesterday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Kuwait yesterday welcomed spectators from the Gulf region and beyond to its inaugural aviation spectacle. The first Kuwait Aviation Show is being held from Jan 17-20, 2018 at Kuwait International Airport with the participation of 150 international aviation companies.

Sheikh Salman Al-Homoud Al-Sabah, Head of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), noted the aviation show has great participation of GCC and international companies. “The aviation industry in Kuwait has witnessed great progress with mega projects to develop the infrastructure, especially since the airport is the face of Kuwait. We have adopted global safety and security standards to provide the best services in the aviation sector,” he pointed out.

Strategic projects are ongoing at Kuwait International Airport. “These projects will improve the operational sector and improve the services provided for passengers in the next phase. Currently, the new terminal (T2) is under construction and will serve 25 million passengers annually. It will be launched in 2022. We are also working on a supporting terminal (T4) that will be ready by the middle of this year with a capacity of 4.5 million passengers per year. Furthermore, we are working on two new runways in addition to building a control tower equipped with the latest technology,” Sheikh Salman said.
The staff of DGCA have made great efforts that resulted in record achievements in safety standards. “The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) evaluated Kuwait International Airport with a high rating of 78.18 percent, which is a high rating in regional and international standards,” he emphasized.

British Ambassador to Kuwait Michael Davenport stated that this event is an international show and has great participation with a strong British interest from both the government and private companies. “Big and small British companies are participating in this event with many technological products including training, IT and electronic security. The UK is strong in the aviation sector and even small companies can provide cutting-edge technologies that customers need. The companies are looking for partnership with Kuwaiti companies, as we have very close relations and interests,” he told the Kuwait Times.

“British exports to Kuwait in 2017 rose by 27 percent compared to 2016, so overall trade for 2017 was more than £2.5 billion. There are a lot of investments in both directions. We are working on direct investment opportunities that now exist in Kuwait,” added Davenport.

“The British government is supporting some of the companies that are launching a new technology (GECO) designed by aviators and used in the UK. It is a very cost-effective way for the pilots to have all the information they need electronically available rather than the plans, books and maps that they used to have. They can reach the cockpit very quickly by using this portable device. It is displayed here at the show and visitors can come and see it,” said Fleur Thomas, Regional Director Africa, Europe, Middle East, Central and South Asia of the Defense and Security Organization.

One of the main participants, Inzpire, is offering various products and services including GECO. “We have displayed the GECO electronic cockpit organizer at the Kuwait Aviation Show for the first time. It’s an electronic tablet the size of a small paper bag – it’s in frontline operational use with British Forces and internationally in over 15 aircraft types, and is used in Jordan and Indonesia. It is designed by pilots for pilots to enable the air crew to have all the information immediately at their fingertips,” said Si Gilbert, Business Development Executive, Inzpire.

“It enables older airplanes to upgrade their cockpits with digital standards relatively cheaply when compared to completely ripping out the cockpit for a new digital cockpit. It’s designed to be used by military forces and civilian pilots as well, as the principle is the same. It has a long battery life, and it has a spare battery and high-grade GPS, and can be custom-designed. It can also link to a communication system, and can be also used on the ground or at sea. It’s secure against cyber threats as well,” Gilbert added.

The first day of the show was for VIPs, the second day is for public bodies and companies, and the last two days are open to the public. The Kuwait Aviation Show includes various activities and daily aerial displays by the airplanes of the Kuwait air force, Solo Turk, Saudi Falcons, Extra Qatar and others.

By Nawara Fattahova

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