As its membership continues to grow beyond 200, the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA, Booth 827) plans to hold frequent regional conferences to stay attuned to its members and keep on top of local business aviation issues. According to MEBAA founding chairman Ali Al Naqbi, these Middle East Business Aviation Conferences (MEBAC) will be held about four times a year in different countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.
While there won’t be any exhibitors or static displays at these events like those at the biennial MEBA show, they will feature prominent leaders and workshops hosting discussions of issues affecting the business aviation community at these locations. Topping the list of these hurdles is convincing countries in the region to craft regulations specifically tailored for business aviation operations, which in most cases now are conducted under more stringent rules written for the airlines in the region. MEBAA has also tapped the Washington, D.C.-based General Aviation Manufacturers Association to help in this effort, which is currently being directed at changing rules in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The inaugural MEBAC will be held on June 4 at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Conference speakers, to include Saudi Arabia General Authority of Civil Aviation president H.H. Prince Fahd bin Abdulla bin Muhammad, will address issues affecting the Kingdom’s business aviation market. MEBAA chose Saudi Arabia as the launch location of these conferences because business aviation is growing quickly there and it is one of the segment’s biggest markets among the six states in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Follow-on regional conferences will be held in Morocco on October 8; Dubai on November 17, during the Dubai Airshow; and Bahrain on January 15, during the Bahrain Airshow. The Dubai conference will have two workshops: one on MEBAA’s aviation insurance program and another on emergency response planning, Naqbi told AIN.