MEBA organizers have declared themselves astonished by the impressive growth of the Middle East’s new biennial business aviation show. With 250 exhibitors from 29 countries along with 78 aircraft having converged here at Airport Expo Dubai this week, the 2008 edition will be 175 percent larger than the first show in January 2007.
United Arab Emirates
Emivest Aerospace’s SJ30 light business jet established an unofficial speed record for its weight class on November 10, flying from London to Dubai in seven hours and seven minutes, including a 41-minute refueling stop in Istanbul, Turkey.
Here at the MEBA show, Royal Jet is expected to announce plans to further increase its fleet. The Abu Dhabi-based company is likely to commit to more aircraft in both the VIP airliner and super-midsize classes. It may also confirm plans to establish one or more new bases in the Gulf region to address a shortage of FBO and maintenance facilities, as well as introducing other new services.
Despite a dour world economy, organizers of the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show, which runs this Sunday through Tuesday in Dubai, expect to exceed last year’s $907 million record as global investors from 29 countries vie for a slice of the region’s growing charter market. Current forecasts predict 15-percent annual growth rates for business aviation in the Middle East over the next five years.
The Emirates-CAE Flight Training center located alongside the Emirates Aviation College here in Dubai is benefiting from a strategic location, a sound local market and a partnership between local airline and Canadian training specialist that seems to be working well.
Palm Aviation (Stand No. 1000) plans to invest $11 million in building an FBO at the Al Maktoum International Airport currently being built at Jebel Ali. The flight-support group, headquartered at Dubai International Airport, intends to open the new facility by the start of 2010.
Abu Dhabi Airports Co. (ADAC) is redeveloping the Al Bateen military air base as a dedicated business aviation airport. The government-backed company is spending around $55 million to upgrade facilities, which will include two VIP passenger terminals and one VVIP building.
In its effort to catch up with fast-growing neighbor Dubai as an aerospace hub, Abu Dhabi companies announced several key developments here at the Farnborough show. The deals will launch tier-one aerospace manufacturing in the Arabian Gulf, and significantly expand local maintenance, repair and overhaul capability.
Middle East FBO activity is accelerating, with a United Arab Emirates company planning to build an FBO at the new Al Maktoum International Airport and an Abu Dhabi company announcing plans to convert a former military airport into the region’s first dedicated executive airport.
Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC), an aerospace and defense association that supports 1,200 related companies in southern England, has opened new offices in New Delhi and Mumbai. The moves follow the success achieved in the UAE, where member companies have been operating from offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai since 2007. FAC acts as a facilitator for business between large global primes and supply chains.