Business aviation is set to have a high profile at the next Dubai Airshow later this year (November 15-19). The Middle East has not been immune from the global economic crisis but remains a major prospective growth market for an industry that has seen a significant slowdown in both North America and Europe.
According to Dubai show organizer Fairs & Exhibitions, more than 100 bizav firms have signed up as exhibitors for the 11th staging of the biennial event. These include major airframers Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier.
“The aviation industry is facing one of its most challenging years with the current economic downturn, especially the more specialized business jet firms, prompting suppliers and service providers to look to more resilient markets such as the Middle East,” said Fairs & Exhibitions aerospace director Alison Weller. “Business aviation remains a key element of the Dubai Airshow and we are pleased to welcome back our valued clients who number among the world’s top business jet manufacturers and service providers, in addition to new companies seeking to build business relationships within the region.”
Despite difficult market conditions, Fairs & Exhibitions expects to sell more exhibit space for the 2009 event than it did back in 2007. This has prompted construction of an additional exhibition hall at the Dubai Airport Expo site. Originally, the 2009 show was to have been held at Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport but late last year organizers decided to stay at the existing site.
The 2007 Dubai Airshow drew 850 exhibitors and 45,000 trade visitors, as well as heralding an unprecedented volume of announced orders valued at $155 billion.
Fairs & Exhibitions (Booth No. 1558) also organizes the biennial Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show, which was last staged at the same venue in November 2008. The next MEBA will be held December 7 to 9 and has already seen a 40-percent increase in exhibitor bookings.
In 2008, 250 exhibitors from 30 countries announced around $1.5 billion worth of deals at the show, which attracted 5,500 visitors.
According to the Middle East Business Aviation Association, the Middle Eastern market is set to grow by 15 to 20 percent annually over the next four years to become a $1 billion industry. Despite the recent signs of slowing growth in key locations such as Dubai, a recent report from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) predicted that the region’s bizav community will continue to grow while other areas are stagnating. “A picture emerges of a potentially remarkable and long-term sustainable growth path in the Middle East, rather than an excessive, unplanned, over-hyped bubble which is about to burst, as many outside the region, and some within, may believe,” commented CAPA chairman Peter Harbison.