The Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) exhibition’s first appearance at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport location is expected to see a record number of attendees. According to organizer F&E Aerospace, more than 7,000 trade visitors are expected at MEBA 2012, which opens tomorrow and ends Thursday. At press time, the number of pre-registered visitors had already exceeded 6,000, which is 35 percent higher than the pre-registration tally two years ago, when MEBA was last held.
AINalerts » December 10, 2012
Airbus Corporate Jets launched its new Gala cabin concept for the ACJ330/340 widebodies today at MEBA 2012. The concept is applicable to A330s and A340s, which essentially have the identical cabins between doors two and three. In this cabin zone, Airbus proposes the installation of a VVIP fit encompassing a master bedroom, master office and conference area. Governments requiring head-of-state aircraft are seen as the main potential customers.
The second biannual MEBA Conference (MEBAC) convened in Dubai Marina today to tackle the issues facing the regional industry, underscoring evils posed by the gray market and the disconnect between regional operators and regulators as they attempt to curb it. The gray market–when an aircraft carries paying passengers without an air operating certificate–has caused consternation in the business aviation industry in the Middle East, as legitimate operators see earnings whittled away by fly-by-night operators cutting corners and failing to provide proper insurance.
Dassault Falcon sees demand for business jets recovering throughout the Middle East, thanks to large operators in the region and the increased globalization of commerce. The company expects to deliver six Falcons to Middle East customers over the next 18 months, expanding the Falcon fleet in the Middle East by 10 percent. More than 60 Falcon business jets already operate in the region.
The scheduled-airline vacuum at Dubai World Central’s new Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) has created an opportunity for business aviation operators hard pressed to obtain adequate slots at Dubai International Airport (DXB), according to Khalifa Al Zaffin, executive chairman of government-owned Dubai Aviation City Corp., whose main responsibility is construction at Dubai Aviation City.
Jet Aviation has been appointed as the dedicated ground handling service provider for MEBA 2012, which is taking place this week at Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport. As such, Jet Aviation is providing aircraft services and passenger assistance, including taxiing, handling, lavatory service, refueling, catering, customs support, service coordination and flight plan support for flight crews. The company is also operating two airport customer lounges during the show.
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA), the business jet arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines, is seeing increased interest from businesses in the Kingdom in acquiring new aircraft, as it prepared to open the country’s largest FBO in Jeddah. “SPA’s operations will grow 100 percent year-on-year this year,” said SPA CEO Wajdi Al Idrissi. “The government is spending the money and there is no decline in growth. In Saudi Arabia, private aviation is growing at 15 to 20 percent a year.”
Doha-based Rizon Jet has become a founding member of The Luxury Network Qatar, which brings together a select group of companies and high-end service providers. The Luxury Network Qatar will be launched officially early next year in Rizon Jet’s VIP terminal at Doha.
Beirut’s main FBO, Cedar Jet Center, is promoting its full-service offering at Lebanon’s main gateway, Rafic Hariri International Airport, this week at MEBA. CJC was established in 2005 by Middle East Airlines (MEA) Group to coincide with the opening of the airport’s general aviation terminal. In 2008, the company joined forces with group affiliate Masco to offer line maintenance services for a range of business aircraft. The partnership now offers aircraft hangarage and full maintenance services for the Airbus ACJ319, Boeing BBJ, Cessna Mustang and Hawker 800/850/900XP.
Bombardier Aerospace launched a “Tweet spot” campaign for MEBA 2012, where attendees Tweet a picture of themselves at designated places at the static display area. The company plans to move its Tweet spots around during the show, but all locations will have Bombardier aircraft in the background. Bombardier said it decided to engage attendees with Twitter at the show, since social media is very popular in the Middle East. Tweet spot photos taken at MEBA should be tagged with #BBAWorld and #MEBA12.