MEBA event poised to hit its stride as Mideast bizav thrives

 - October 27, 2008, 11:08 AM

The prolific growth of the Middle East market for business aviation should be clearly apparent at the second Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show this month. The three-day event will be staged at Dubai’s Airport Expo Center from November 16 to 18 and is projected to be more than twice the size of the first full MEBA show, held in January last year.

In November 2005, a one-day MEBA conference was held on the eve of that year’s Dubai Air Show; the success of this event prompted the launch of a dedicated business aviation show for the Middle East. MEBA will now be staged in alternate years from the biennial Dubai Air Show.

Last month MEBA organizer Fairs & Exhibitions (which also runs the Dubai Air Show) reported that more than 250 companies from 22 countries are set to exhibit at the event–up from the 90 companies that exhibited at MEBA 2007. Total exhibit floor space is projected to be more than 27,000 sq ft and there will be almost 40 chalets. Some 5,000 visitors are anticipated (compared with 2,400 last year), and, as of last month, around 1,500 visitors had pre-registered.

The static display area directly in front of the chalets should be filled with 70 aircraft from the world’s leading business aircraft manufacturers. Full-scale mockups of both the new Cessna Citation Columbus large-cabin business jet and Embraer’s Lineage 1000 bizliner are due to be on display. Gulfstream might show a mock-up of its new G650.

Based on current market trends, it seems probable that this year’s event will exceed the first show’s $1 billion tally of new aircraft orders. The latest annual business aviation market forecast published by Honeywell Aerospace last month shows continued strong growth expectations for the Middle East market over the next 10 years.

MEBA is backed by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), which currently numbers 60 members. The organization is based in Dubai under the leadership of president and CEO Ammar Balkar and chairman Ali Al Naqbi.

“Currently, we are seeing a 40-percent annual increase in the Middle East’s business aviation sector, which should continue for the next five years,” said Alison Weller, aerospace director with Fairs & Exhibitions. “The emergence of MEBA as one of the world’s top three business aviation shows is another feather in the cap for Dubai’s status as the region’s premier aerospace hub,” she added.