Gray Charter Market Tops MEBAC Agenda

 - March 20, 2014, 3:05 PM

The need for better regulation and firmer action to stem the tide of the so-called gray market in illegal charter flights will top the agenda at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference (MEBAC), which will be held in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, on April 10. The event is organized by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), which is taking the lead in pushing for firmer legal foundations to support the region’s fast-growing industry.

Dr. Faisal Al Sughair, vice president of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), will open the conference with updates on developments in the country’s aviation and expansion programs at airports in Jeddah and Riyadh. Ismaeil Mohamed Al Balooshi, executive director of aviation safety affairs with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates, will speak on a panel tackling business aviation regulation. He will be joined by Edward Smith, senior vice president for international and environmental affairs at the Washington, D.C.-based General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Ali Al Naqbi, founding chairman of MEBAA, told AIN that private jets not registered in Saudi Arabia need to be better regulated, to curb the pervasive incidence of the gray market there. “We are pushing the Saudi authorities to talk about business aviation regulation. This time we are going to have GAMA with us. GCAA will be there. We will talk about the steps that need to be taken to start putting the rules and regulation for business aviation in place. GCAA is receptive to our ideas.”

The first Saudi MEBAC was held in Jeddah last June, and the annual conference was previously staged in Marrakech, Morocco. AIN, an official media partner for the MEBAC event, will provide full coverage from the conference at and in the May issue of Aviation International News.