Business aviation is set to make a strong showing at next month’s Dubai Airshow, with the sector expected to account for as many as 50 of the 150 aircraft anticipated on the static display and around 220 of the exhibiting companies. In addition to all the main airframers, bizav service providers such as Jet Aviation, ExecuJet Aviation, Royal Jet and Jetex are booked to exhibit at the event.
According to data recently reported by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), the bizav market in the region is expected to be worth $1 billion annually by 2018. By 2020, the group projects that more than 1,375 business jets will be registered in Middle Eastern countries.
Dubai Airshow organizer F&E Aerospace (Booth No. N2923) is pressing the reset button on the biennial event, staging the Middle East’s premier aerospace and defense gathering at a new purpose-built site at Dubai World Central. The show is to be permanently based in the new Aviation City zone at DWC, which is a vast new economic development hub built around the new Al Maktoum International Airport close to the Jebel Ali seaport.
At the November 17 to 21 gathering will be no fewer than 210 first-time exhibitors among the anticipated 1,000 exhibiting companies (a 7-percent increase on the 2011 show). As of last week, 1,017 exhibitor bookings had been confirmed with a few more booth spaces still available.
A growing number of these newcomers will be from Arabian Gulf states, reflecting the region’s rising stature as a center for aviation manufacturing and service activities. These will include MRO provider Saudi Aerospace Engineering and business aviation services group Alpha Star from Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s aviation tool supplier Franke Care Systems.
F&E is anticipating around 60,000 trade visitors, which would represent a 5-percent increase on the 2011 event. Among the business aircraft so far confirmed for the static display in Dubai are the following: an Airbus Corporate Jet; a Gulfstream G450, G550 and G650; Bombardier’s Challenger 605, Global 5000 and 6000; Dassault’s Falcon 2000LX and 7X; Embraer’s Legacy 650 and Lineage 1000; a Boeing Business Jet; a Nextant 400XT; and a Pilatus PC-12NG. Eurocopter will be showing the mockup of the new executive version of the EC175 helicopter, as well as the new EC145T2 and AS350B3, and Bell will display its 429 twin.
Another new feature of the Dubai Airshow is a new pavilion highlighting aviation’s role in humanitarian aid. Participants will include the UN World Food Program and Care by Air, as well as a total of 15 companies and organizations involved in humanitarian missions, such as the UAE’s Rus Aviation, AgustaWestland, Lebanon’s Med Airways and Royal Air Maroc. Exhibitors and visitors will be given the opportunity to make donations to the World Food Program, with which MEBAA itself has just forged a new partnership.
The new show site is almost twice the size of the old Airport Expo location at Dubai International Airport, at 645,000 sq m (almost 7 million sq ft). In addition to greatly improved road access and parking space, the new site offers several meeting and conference rooms. There is far more space for the static display and organizers have been able to extend the daily flying display to three hours, without the need for a break to allow for airline departures and arrivals.
According to Michele van Akelijen, F&E Aerospace’s Middle East managing director, the Dubai Airshow has worked hard to deliver maximum possible value to exhibitors while also improving the experience of trade visitors. “The biggest thing that exhibitors want is a return on their investment and that means creating a platform for them to do business effectively and meet the right people, so we’ve been expanding our official delegation plans,” she told AIN.