The top official from the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) is attending ABACE, as the body representing the industry in the region seeks to improve links to China and Asia in general.
“This will be the first time I attend ABACE,” MEBAA founding and executive chairman Ali Alnaqbi told AIN. “MEBAA supports business aviation events around the globe. This promotes the association and [ABACE] is a good platform. Asian members are also showing support, as the Asian…market is going in the right direction, under the supervision of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA).”
Official information provided to AIN shows that MEBAA has 10 Asian members. “We do have few Asian members,” Alnaqbi said. “I am hoping to promote MEBAA as a show, and as an association [there]. We see lately a lot of interest in our region coming from Asia, and not only from China. South Korea has become very active. Its representatives have approached me to set up operations in the UAE.
“When we have our show, we have a good team from AsBAA attending, which is very important. They are supportive and advocative of business aviation around the world. I will talk to the community in Asia, support that market, and promote good relations between the MEBAA, AsBAA, and NBAA. I am a believer of supporting each other, and growing the market worldwide.”
Alnaqbi thought it unlikely that many Middle East-based companies would be looking to set up in Asia in the near future, although he did concede that a number of major players had entered the market.
“UAS International Trip Support [majority owned by Deer Jet] and other…companies are already in that part of the world, but I don’t think more than that will happen in the near future. There has been a good deal of talk about going to the East in the last 10 years, but actually there is still a lot of work to be done on the market there.”
MENA-based companies will also set up a pavilion at ABACE. “This is what we are trying to do,” Alnaqbi said. “A number of businesses are going. There is a lot of business going on, and a lot of companies coming from Asia to here. I do not see our companies going there yet, but in the future it might happen. Jetex has a relationship with HondaJet, representing it in the MENA region."
In terms of country-to-country relationships, he said trade in its many aspects was increasing between China and South Korea on the one hand, and the Middle East and North Africa on the other.
“I would like to see how we can build on these very good relationships in terms of business aviation,” he said. “I have been approached by Vietnam and Myanmar to review Civil Aviation Authority processes. It will be an education and an opportunity to meet those attending. I would like to see how many other countries participate. These countries are interesting, and that is why I am attending ABACE.”