Tentative January date set for Middle East bizav show

 - November 13, 2006, 8:45 AM

The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) is organizing a show at Dubai Airport Expo to run January 31 through February 1. The gathering will include a conference, an exhibition floor, a static display and chalets, and is planned as an annual event. Formed early this year in Dubai, the not-for-profit organization hopes to have 30 to 40 members by December.

At press time, the event–dubbed MEBA 2007 and exhibiting here at Booth No. 4684–was not fully launched and the schedule was still tentative. UK-based trade show specialist Fairs & Exhibitions (F&E) and MEBAA were still negotiating commercial terms. A partnership agreement was signed in July at the Farnborough airshow between MEBAA chairman Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi and F&E chairman Virginia Kern.

F&E is promoting the event as an expansion of the one-day Middle East Business Aviation conference held last November. The new annual show is scheduled to move from location to location around the Middle East. A target size for the show is still to be determined. MEBA has approached some 180 companies. In July, handler Jordan Private Jets was the first company to sign up for MEBA 2007.

The first MEBAA board meeting, on September 20, confirmed the names of the board members. All the companies represented are founding members (see box).

The association’s membership region includes 20 countries ranging from Algeria to Israel and Yemen. Those members with voting rights are operators and suppliers. (In other business aviation associations, such as NBAA and Europe’s EBAA, suppliers have no voting rights.) Operator/supplier members pay a $3,500 annual fee, while affiliate members pay $1,750 (rates were lower for founding members). Affiliate members are defined as those with continuing interests in business aviation within the Middle East. They have no voting rights.

Al Naqbi is the founding chairman and his initial term is two years. He also is the vice president of finance and administration of Abu Dhabi-based Amiri Flight. Each board member is elected or appointed for a term of three years. David Paddock, managing officer of SH&E, a U.S.-based air transport consulting firm that the MEBAA has contracted to handle all of the association’s start-up aspects, told NBAA Convention News that Al Naqbi is expected to have a permanent position on the board.

The fledgling organization, he said, wants “to serve the needs of [its] members in ways that enhance safety, security, efficiency and acceptance of business aviation throughout the region.” For example, MEBAA founders want to share best practices with other business aviation associations. They also want to lobby for more effective overflight rights.