Next week's the Dubai Air Show, starting Sunday the 11th. It's eagerly awaited by the folks like us in the cheap seats, although one might suppose that the deals that matter are already pretty much done.
Still, there's the random factor that makes these events interesting, even if they are stage managed by the players involved. Everyone loves a circus even if the moves are all planned out well in advance.
What's of interest to us here at the Dougloid Papers, of course, is the rumored commercial orders that will come out of the show. A large order for the A350 IWannaBeLikeMikeLiner may move that program forward, and the A380 PotemkinLiner may garner some orders. John Leahy, boy savant and huckster extraordinaire for Festung Airbus is on record as saying that the A380 was going to land 20 new orders and two new customers this year and he's on track so far with his predictions.
Boeing, for its part, will be offering the product improved but commonly perceived as outdated B747-8i and -8f, B777s in all shapes and sizes, and the B787 GretaGarboLiner. Whether the 747-8i is going to land some orders, or whether an up-powered 787-10 is going to be announced is something we'll have to wait and see about.
I haven't mentioned the A320 and the B737 UnsungHeroLiners, because lots of them are going to be sold now and in the future. They do the dirty work in the air travel business every day, day in and day out, schlepping folks on the redeye from Cleveland to Milwaukee and Hamburg to Paris and Delhi to Bangalore. They also pay the bills for Toulouse and Renton, they keep people busy spinning wrenches and bashing rivets and slopping PR1422 all over everything, and that's good.
Whether there are significant military orders in the offing is not known to me, although it's interesting to contemplate whether there will be new orders for the C130 Hercules, the C17 Globemaster II and the A400M military airlifter from Airbus.
With respect to combat aircraft, the efforts of the Russians and maybe the Chinese may make for interesting reading. They're both eager to sell, and the Russians have some very good, modestly priced hardware from Sukhoi and MiG as well as some serious heavylift rotorcraft. China, as we have seen, is capable of making anything, doing a good job, and delivering on time.
Dubai, the bes' li'l ole emirate in the Persian Gulf, is a study in contrasts. Awash in a rising tide of oil money, Dubai is spending it like the proverbial drunken sailor, as evidenced by the massive terraforming going on-Palm Islands I and II and the collection of 300 man made islands to the east. It's a classic bubble economy on a grand scale, all built on the world's raging thirst for petroleum.
Along with the massive terraforming going on, Dubai's also got the largest indoor ski slope in the world and is building Burj Dubai, which will be the tallest chunk of real estate in the world and likely the most expensive to boot. The hubris in all this is so thick you can cut it with a knife, and it doesn't have to be very sharp either. A common butter knife will do.
On the other hand, it's quite evident from scanning Google Earth that when you get to the edge of town, the place is a howling wilderness of sand, and every last glass of water and plate of food must be hauled in from somewhere else, that somewhere else being a long way off. That bears hard study, I think, before we declare that the New Millenium has arrived in Dubai.
Every finger that is lifted in Dubai is lifted by expatriates who will never be part of Dubai no matter how long they and their progeny reside therein. They'll always be hewers of wood and drawers of water without a stake in the project and no rights a Dubai citizen is bound to respect, and that goes a long way to underscore the fundamental injustice of such a construct.
Whether it can be maintained into the long term future is as yet undecided. But for now, it makes for interesting watching from the bleachers.
Photo credit Google Earth.