Organizers of the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show expect the fifth staging of the biennial event to be reinvigorated by its new venue at the Dubai World Central (DWC) airport. This year’s show (December 11 to 13) will benefit from the use of one of the just-completed, but as yet unoccupied, passenger terminals at DWC, also known as Al Maktoum International Airport.
“Bookings [for exhibit space] have overtaken our projections, and MEBA is definitely growing after a few slow years for this industry,” said F&E Aerospace managing director Alison Weller in mid-October. “The growth has mainly come from new exhibiting companies, including more from outside the Middle East region. We are still taking bookings and expect to see more new companies from the region itself.”
As of press time, just over 30 aircraft had booked to appear on the large static display area immediately adjoining the exhibit halls and chalets at the DWC site. This number is expected to climb above the 53 present at the MEBA 2010 event, with more helicopters set to be among the aircraft on show. With the new airport still underused, exhibiting companies will have more freedom to provide customer demonstration flights than they had at the heavily congested Dubai International Airport site.
Rival FBO groups ExecuJet Aviation and Jet Aviation are cooperating to run the MEBA static display. Both companies have plans to establish operations at DWC, having been active at Dubai International for more than a decade each.
F&E Aerospace is expecting final exhibitor numbers to reach 375 companies (up from 338 two years ago). Around 7,000 visitors are anticipated for the trade-only event, and approximately 40 percent of these will be from outside the Middle East (including around 20 percent from India and other parts of Asia). Pre-registration is about 200 percent ahead of where it was at the same period ahead of the 2010 show.
The company has introduced new “focus areas” for MEBA 2012, intended to highlight the significance of sectors such as cabin interiors, business aviation airports and helicopters. Also new for this year’s event is a U.S. Pavilion organized by Kallman Worldwide, as well as a national pavilion for Malta, with the Mediterranean island exploiting its position as a European Union member state between the European mainland and North Africa.
“MEBA visitors are definitely going to see some sand this year,” quipped Weller, referring to DWC’s location some 25 miles from the almost-downtown Dubai International Airport. The new site has the advantage of less congested surrounding roads and ample parking. Visitors wanting an early glimpse of their journey to the new show site can find this online.
More information about the 2012 MEBA show can be found at www.meba.aero. Next year, F&E will be staging the Aircraft Interiors Middle East show (January 22 and 23) and the Dubai Airshow (November 17 to 21).
The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) is organizing a number of special meetings and seminars alongside the MEBA show. For instance, a seminar will be held on December 9 to discuss the so-called gray market for illegal charter flights. On the same day the association will hold an operators meeting and a series of workshops on IS-BAO compliance.
On December 10, the Future of Business Jets in the Middle East conference will be held, alongside a MEBAA board meeting. On December 11, MEBAA will host a reception at The Address Hotel, followed by a Safety Standdown event co-organized with Bombardier at DWC on December 12 and the MEBAA general assembly on the same day also at the show site.