Defense, Dreamliner demand gives Boeing boost in Middle East


DUBAI–Boeing’s top Middle East executives said Saturday their latest 787 Dreamliner and increased demand for defense capabilities would help the aerospace company increase its market share in the region. “From a global perspective our products and services are performing very well,” Boeing’s Middle East president Jeffrey Johnson told reporters ahead of the 12th Dubai Airshow which opens Sunday. “On the commercial airplane side of business, we recently saw two of our new products come to the market…. On defense… unmanned systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and also cybersecurity have become very important today.”

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which began service last month and is the Boeing star display at this year’s air show, landed Saturday morning at Dubai International Airport.

Boeing’s V-22 Osprey, a military transport aircraft, will also make its Middle East debut at the air show. The company’s key markets in the region are defense solutions and aircraft. Paul Oliver, one of Boeing’s top regional defense executives, said that the “Middle East is a key market force. As U.S. defense budgets go down we are expanding internationally … the Middle East is the most important market for us for the foreseeable future.”

He added that the Arab Spring revolutions that have rocked the Middle East in recent months have had little impact on Boeing’s expansion plans.

“I have not seen a great impact from the military side on any of our ongoing discussions. But I do think it will reprioritize some of the spending in the future,” he said.

As many as 1,000 exhibitors from 50 countries, including Boeing’s European rival Airbus, will take part in the biennial show in Dubai, organizers have said.