The African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), launched at the EBACE this past May, announced at MEBA 2012 that UAE-based flight planning and support service provider Hadid International Services has been selected as the association’s penultimate founding member.
“We are delighted that Hadid has accepted our invitation to become a founding member,” Tarek Ragheb, chairman of AfBAA, told AIN here at the show yesterday. “It is joining an exceptional line-up of inaugural members and brings valuable experience and breadth of knowledge to the table,” he said.
Hadid (Stand 350), the first privately owned flight support service company in the Middle East, was established in 1981 in Damascus by Baha Hadid, in response to the poor services delivered by the monopoly, government-owned ground-handling company. Since then Hadid has grown into a worldwide force with offices in Dubai, Karachi, Delhi, Niamey and Algiers.
“We see tremendous growth and opportunities in Africa and recognize the need for a professional, thoughtfully structured and well-funded association that can support the development of the business aviation sector on the continent,” said Hadid’s director of business development, Dr. Adnan Branbo. “Having the opportunity to be a founding member and contribute to shaping the future of economic development in Africa is a very exciting prospect for us.”
Hadid specializes in flight support in locations where airport services fall short of international standards, experience likely to be invaluable in an organization dedicated to improving business aviation and its support infrastructure in Africa.
“Hadid’s founder filled a gap and succeeded in launching a venture that raised the standard of ground-support services delivered to business aviation to match those of the global industry,” said Mohammed Abu Libdeh, the company’s Dubai-based CEO. “This was done again and again in airports around the world, such as Mali, Libya and Chad in Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar in Asia, and Venezuela and Cuba in the Americas.”
As a founding member, Hadid joins a roster of leading African and global business aviation companies, including Afrijet Business Services, Embraer Executive Jets, Apple Evergreen Nigeria, Gulfstream Aerospace and Hawker Beechcraft. With one founding member position remaining to be filled, AfBAA has established a launch member category to complement the founding members, and will later create regular and affiliate memberships for aviation companies that have an interest in operating in Africa.
AfBAA held a board meeting here at MEBA 2012 yesterday afternoon where the primary item on the agenda was the development of a white paper detailing “a bucket list of broad issues we see in Africa,” said Ragheb, who is also eager to have operators and aircraft owners who fly in Africa come to the association’s stand, No. 380. AIN was told that it was unlikely the white paper would be finalized during the show, and that it was more likely to be released in January.
“Africa is China in our backyard,” Ragheb said. “It has tremendous potential. Business aviation is going to be the very tool and catalyst to achieve a lot of the business that will be conducted, and achieve the growth that African states are looking for.”