MEBA Show: Built by Hand

 - December 6, 2010, 6:36 AM
Workers set up the Moon Jet both at MEBA 2010....
Workers set up the Moon Jet both at MEBA 2010.

This is my first trip to Dubai, so a blog post from me on the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show is appropriate. Because I’ve attended many NBAA shows, people from AIN who’ve been to Dubai before have been preparing me for MEBA, with a note that this is no more than a mini-NBAA. While many of the players are the same people I just saw in Atlanta a little more than a month ago, the way the show is built seems pretty alien to me. Bit ironic isn’t it that I’m talking about an alien topic when I’m the alien visitor this time?

I’m most amazed that much of the MEBA show exhibits seem to be hand built. In Atlanta, forklifts brought in case after case of crates with all the parts of an exhibitor’s booth nestled safely inside. All they added were a few good carpenters and suddenly a booth appeared after a day’s work.

Here though, they’re actually building many of the booths from scratch out of chunks of plywood, plastic, plaster and Formica. When I walked in to the exhibit hall Sunday morning, the place was in chaos. No way they are going to finish hand-building so much of this, I thought. I watched one operator assemble what looks to be a piece of airport terminal building…from scratch. The curved ceiling and walls that resemble the intricate design you might find in a modern terminal these days were crafted bit by bit over the past few days. Then they hand-painted everything to fit. The craftsmanship is excellent, too. No way would they spend this kind of time to assemble a booth in the U.S. Now though, I’m thinking they might just make it for tomorrow morning’s opening. Most interesting though, they’ll rip everything down in a few days and toss the bits into the trash. Go figure.