Along with new aircraft and a new show site, MEBA 2012 is presenting a new exhibit area, the U.S. Pavilion, showcasing the goods and services of ten U.S. aviation companies, spanning a range of goods and services from inflight catering to aircraft manufacturing.
The pavilion’s purpose is to make it easier for attendees to find U.S. based companies in one location, and for the companies to be seen by attendees. Potential customers in the Middle East “like the American quality, they like our technology,” said Carole Lotito, media manager, Kallman Worldwide, which organized the pavilion (and also organizes U.S. pavilions at other air shows such as Farnborough and Paris). The exhibitors are shown in the table (below???).
“From our previous experiences like [exhibiting at] EBACE, we didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle,” said Joe Celentano, president and co-owner with brother John of Rudy’s Inflight Catering. “We’re not a giant manufacturer or service company, we’re truly a Mom and Pop company, very boutique. Being in the American Pavilion enables us to not get lost n a sea of other exhibitors.
Most of these exhibitors already have relationships with customers or potential customers in the Middle East, and see MEBA as an opportunity to advance their mutual interests.
Fargo Jet Center (FJC), in addition to promoting its convenient location on the Great Circle route, is also interested in creating a presence in the Middle East. “We have relationships, and we see opportunities for Fargo Jet Center in both operations and aircraft sales or FBO-type operations, and we’ll have some discussions about all these services we can provide,” said Darren Hall, FJC’s vice president of marketing.
Cirrus Aircraft is pursuing “specific fleet opportunities and some individual” sales, said Jon Duplais, vice president Fleet and Special Mission Aircraft. Some attendees might think Cirrus is out of place in the pavilion, as it was purchased by the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) in 2011.
“Cirrus is still officially a U.S. company that just happens to be owned by a Chinese investor,” said Duplais. “And prior to 2011, Cirrus was owned by a Bahraini investment bank for the previous nine years.”
Whatever the current status of their presence in the Middle East, all these exhibitors recognize that if one wants to do business here, you have to come here first, which after all, is the justification of the business aviation industry all are part of.
“At the end of the day, nothing is more powerful than someone getting on an airplane, traveling seven or eight thousand miles, spending time, to meet people, hear and try to meet their needs, and forge relationships,” said Celentano of Rudy’s Inflight Catering. “We’re hoping this is going to be one of many MEBAs we will attend.” o