The 2014 edition of the Middle East Business Aviation Show (MEBA) will see 50 aircraft on static display and more than 400 exhibitors, including some of the world’s most influential business aviation players.
Now in its sixth edition, the largest business aviation event in the region will run from December 8 to 10 at Dubai World Central (DWC), the new aerotropolis in Dubai, UAE, and is expected to attract more than 8,000 visitors.
MEBA is held by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) and held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
“To understand the importance of MEBA, you only need to look back at the previous show in 2012 and see how it has helped guide our association,” says Ali Al Naqbi, the founding chairman of MEBAA.
He continues: “At the show, we listened carefully to the concerns of our members and therefore made significant progress with government and aviation authorities who are beginning to cooperate with one another to implement initiatives such as uniform maintenance approvals.”
“Furthermore, the show has continued to promote guidelines and raise awareness to promote the welfare of MEBAA members through training and safety schemes.
“Most notably, MEBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have announced a joint initiative to help transform the regulatory environment. Likewise MEBAA has partnered with Kenyon to improve emergency response capabilities that will culminate in a guidance manual for Middle East and North African operators.
“At the same time MEBAA has been lobbying the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to prioritise and address illegal charter.
“So MEBA is a show of incredible importance. It provides the regional industry with a platform to address the issues affecting business aviation in the Middle East and North Africa. And the association is always taking note, networking and making the most of the opportunity to integrate with the industry and its stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, US private and business aviation companies will be looking to benefit from access to the growing Middle East and North Africa (Mena) market at the show.
In a culture where face-to-face meetings mean everything, leading companies including Boeing Business Jets, Gulfstream, Bell Helicopter and Pratt & Whitney are attending the event, being held in the purpose-built venue at DWC, the new aviation city already being dubbed a global aviation industry hub.
There is also a designated US Pavilion, at the heart of the show, where smaller firms can take advantage of special rates, travel assistance and marketing tools provided by the US pavilion organiser Kallman Worldwide.
The US Pavilion at this year’s edition has nearly doubled in size since the last edition with a wide range of sectors represented.
American exhibitors – over 75 per cent of whom are new to the show – will display a wide variety of offerings for the business jet industry. The US Pavilion will showcase everything from catering services to in-seat massage technology and ground support equipment in almost 350 sq m of dedicated space on the show floor.
Kallman President and CEO Tom Kallman says: “It’s exciting to watch buyers and sellers discover each other at the show. Our exhibitors are bringing the latest North American technology and the highest quality products and services to the region at this show – exactly what the Middle East and North Africa business aviation market is seeking.”
He continues: “By sharing our industry and regional expertise, every exhibitor – small or big – is able to confidently put its best foot forward in front of this incredible market every step of the way.”
These exhibitors are in good company, with a host of US big names already marking their stand space, such as Avpro, Textron Aviation (Beechcraft), JSSI (Jet Support Services, Inc) and Rockwell Collins.
The region is a growing market for US aviation companies, with Boeing Business Jets publicly acknowledging that the Middle East accounts for 30 per cent of its business jet sales.
“Companies in the know understand this region has one of the world’s fastest growing private and business aviation sectors,” says Al Naqbi.
“Statistics for the region’s business aviation sector in 2020 reveal a regional market worth $1.3 billion; 175,000 aircraft movements in the region and some 1,200 business aircraft registered across Mena. This is also why, for the second time, the IBAC board meeting will be held the day after the show in Dubai. The message is clear – you need to do business in the region.”
Michele van Akelijen, Managing Director of F&E Aerospace, which organises the event on behalf of MEBA, says: “The US has always had a special relationship with many nations in the region, and the show this year is a chance to further build relationships, meet with your peers and create new relationships. The regional business aviation sector has never seemed so exciting and there is a myriad of opportunities here for the taking.”
She continues: “With hospitality a key facet of any business transaction in the Middle East, corporate hospitality packages in our pavilion are also still available, representing a chance to sit with both regional and global movers and shakers and get down to business in an ideal environment for networking. This exclusive, relaxed, fully-catered area also offers uninterrupted views of the static display.”
While MEBA is set to attract more international aviation players than ever before, local and regional companies are also out in force at the event, which will be held over 75,000 sq m of exhibition space.
Since its inception in 2005, MEBA has evolved into one of the world’s leading business aviation exhibitions, and the 2013 edition closed with a reputation as a ‘game-changing’ event.
Regional organisations including first-time exhibitor Alpha Star, an aircraft management and aviation consulting service provider from Saudi Arabia, are taking up nearly 30 per cent of the expanded exhibition space this year.
Also from Saudi Arabia is Saudia Private Aviation (SPA), headquartered in Jeddah, which will be showcasing its top-tier international luxury flight services.
Avjet Routing, headquartered in the UAE, has a presence in Europe and Asia, and after establishment in 2006, is now a leading provider of aircraft services, from generating flight plans, ground handling and fuel services, visa and immigration services to hotel booking.
Execujet ME, based in the UAE, provides aircraft management, charter, FBO, maintenance and completions consulting; both Avjet and Execujet are prime examples of international aviation service companies which have developed a strong local presence.
World Fuel Services, based in Dubai, will bring its global fuel logistics expertise to MEBA, offering a full range of aviation fuel, trade credit availability, fuel price risk management, logistical support, fuel quality control and fuel management.
Another exhibitor representing the strong local presence is Cedar Jet Center, part of Middle East Airlines Ground Handling (MEAG). The company is focused on providing the business and general aviation industry with a full range of services, based out of the new General Aviation Terminal at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, where it occupies the largest VIP lounge and a 1,800-sq-m hangar.
Van Akelijen says: “MEBA is looking forward to welcoming a number of new exhibitors as well as familiar faces. We will see some of the world’s largest aviation companies alongside local participants. It is this mix that promises to make MEBA 2014 fascinating and will serve to further drive home the message that we are truly at the heart of the global aviation industry.”