In a recent visit to the country, Ali Al Naqbi, founding chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), identified Kuwait as a major driver in the business aviation sector in this region, which is predicted to grow by 15 to 20 percent
annually, to be worth $1 billion by 2012. “Kuwait has already made significant investment in infrastructure to accommodate this growth,” he said, “and we are seeing more and more companies increasing their presence to capitalize on this potential.”
MEBAA CEO Ammar Balkar echoed these sentiments by stating that astute companies in the country are increasingly using private charters as a cost-effective alternative to expensive commercial flights.
Al Naqbi highlighted particularly the $42 million Royal Terminal at Kuwait International Airport which, he said, is currently the largest FBO in the region. U.S.-based Mercury Air Group Inc. has already started flight operations from there.
According to Al Naqbi, business aviation is set to account for 40 percent of the Middle East’s overall aerospace market within four years, and he hopes the significant growth will prompt more Kuwaiti companies to join MEBAA and assist the sector’s evolution.