Two years after 9/11, Dubai’s biennial air show will declare itself to be firmly back to business as usual when it opens next month (December 7 to 11) in the United Arab Emirates. Last time, the event convincingly put on a brave face in the wake of 9/11 and the U.S.-led war against Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan (just 500 miles north).
Abu Dhabi’s Prestige Jet (Stand E322), a year-old business aircraft charter and management service, sees growth in the private air travel market fueling its need for more aircraft.
Currently using Bombardier Challenger 601/604 and Gulfstream III large business jets, the company has two Grob SPn light business jets on order for delivery next year, and may announce more orders here at the Dubai Air Show.
The impressive growth of business aviation in the Middle East hasn’t excluded the region’s executive charter companies, some of which have been enjoying their most lucrative stretch ever. Awash in available capital, they’ve not only added equipment and new markets, they’ve begun expanding into related businesses such as FBOs and maintenance services.
Too few business aircraft are based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Arabian Gulf states to meet rising demand for executive charter flights, according to International Air Charter (IAC), a UK-based charter brokering group that opened an office in Dubai two years ago. The company is urging charter operators to move aircraft into the region to increase capacity and stimulate further demand.
The first Middle East Business Aviation Conference is to be held in Dubai on November 19, on the eve of the Dubai airshow (November 20 to 24). The event is being run by Dubai show organizer Fairs & Exhibitions, hosted by Abu Dhabi-based charter operator Royal Jet and will have as its conference chairman Jack Olcott, president of General Aero and former president of NBAA.
Major orders for airliners and their engines once again raised the profile of the biennial Dubai Air Show, held December 7 to 11. The bulk of the $6 billion sales announced during the event were accounted for by a $1.5 billion order by Emirates Airline for 101 Engine Alliance GP7200 turbofans to power 23 of its Airbus A380s.
The stereotypical business aircraft in the Middle East is a widebody airliner converted to money-no-object specifications for an omnipotent sheikh. While there are still plenty of lavish VIP and head-of-state transports fitting this description, business aviation in this region appears to be evolving to become more business-like, pragmatic and functional.
Around 80 exhibitors have committed to participating in the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference and exhibition to be held in Dubai from January 31 to February 1. According to organizers, the show–to be staged at the Airport Expo Dubai site at Dubai International Airport–will also feature at least 30 aircraft on display.
Demonstrating that Boeing and Airbus aren’t the only bitter rivals in the aerospace schoolyard, Bombardier yesterday issued a public challenge to Gulfstream by proposing the two commit to the idea of holding a race.
Abu Dhabi-based private charter operator Royal Jet has added two aircraft to its Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) fleet. The carrier, which began operations in May 2003, now owns and operates seven of the type. The two newly acquired Boeing 737 derivatives feature head-of-state standard cabin layout.