Right in the middle of the NBAA Convention is precisely the right time to begin thinking about December’s Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show in Dubai, the fifth edition since the show began in 2005. This year’s event runs from December 11 to 13, but at a new location, Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (OMDW), a 25-minute drive south of the City of Dubai.
ExecuJet and Jet Aviation will handle FBO duties during the MEBA show. This year’s event promises to be larger than the 2010 edition, with 60 static aircraft versus 43 and 375 exhibitors versus 338 two years ago. The show also plans an increased focus on helicopters, business aviation airports and aircraft interiors. MEBA’s 2010 visitors were 61 percent from Africa and the Middle East, 17 percent from Europe, 6 percent from the Americas and 16 percent from the Far East and Indian subcontinent.
“Operating in the Middle East means we face some of the same challenges as business aviation everywhere, except when it comes to airport access,” said Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi, founding chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA). “We have 23 Middle East and North African governments to contend with. Dubai International Airport, for instance, has become an environment that doesn’t want business aviation.” The Middle East is home to more widebody business aircraft than anywhere else on the planet, just one more reason for the official business aviation move to Al Maktoum just after the first of the year. Al Maktoum is also Dubai’s growing cargo airport.
“We are in constant discussions with the 23 regional governments,” Al Naqbi said. “We’re working to promote business aviation because we see that business really picking up in the Middle East.”