It took all the resources it could reasonably muster, but Airbus managed to reach its target of delivering 12 A380 aircraft last year when on December 30 it handed over to Emirates Airline that carrier’s fourth superjumbo.
Al Jaber Aviation’s $1.2 billion order for 21 new aircraft placed during November’s MEBA show in Dubai confirmed the business aviation industry’s hopes that rising demand in the Middle East will compensate for slowing sales in western markets that are more directly affected by the ongoing financial crisis.
MAZ Aviation in the United Arab Emirates has selected Gore Design Completions of San Antonio to refurbish the executive interior of an A340-200 for a Middle East customer.
Bell 212, Persian Gulf, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 3, 2008–All seven people aboard the Aerogulf Services Bell 212 were killed when the helicopter hit a crane while taking off from an oil rig in the Persian Gulf. The helicopter had flown cargo from Dubai. After unloading the cargo, it lifted off the helipad, hovered and moved backward into the crane.
The scale and impact of the MEBA 2008 show must have removed any remaining doubts that today the Middle East is business aviation’s hottest marketplace.
Al Jaber Aviation (Stand No. 415) yesterday unveiled details of its entry into the VIP and corporate aviation market and announced a $1.2 billion investment for the acquisition of no fewer than 21 aircraft. The first of its mixed fleet of large-cabin aircraft will enter service in February 2009 and will be based at the AJA initial base at City Airport Abu Dhabi (the former Al Bateen military air base).
MEBA organizers have declared themselves astonished by the impressive growth of the Middle East’s new biennial business aviation show. With 250 exhibitors from 29 countries along with 78 aircraft having converged here at Airport Expo Dubai this week, the 2008 edition will be 175 percent larger than the first show in January 2007.
In a recent visit to the country, Ali Al Naqbi, founding chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), identified Kuwait as a major driver in the business aviation sector in this region, which is predicted to grow by 15 to 20 percent
German business jet operator DC Aviation (Stand No. 4) has declared its intention to increase its presence in the United Arab Emirates as part of an international expansion, which will also include establishing an FBO in Malta “in the next 12 months.” This will build on its existing activity on the Mediterranean island, where it claims to be “the only dedicated business jet handling company.”
Bombardier is making plans to open a pilot training facility for its business aircraft family here in the Middle East. Dubai has been earmarked as the likely venue for the new center and, according to Khader Mattar, the Canadian airframer’s vice president for Middle East and Africa, it could be open before the end of next year.