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Two of the region’s giant airlines are to make their debut at the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA 2014) conference and exhibition in Dubai, UAE, signalling their interest in the fast growing market for private air travel.
This year's MEBA – to be held at the new Dubai Airshow site at Dubai World Central (DWC) between December 8 and 10 – will see both Emirates and Etihad making a debut at the region's biggest business and private aviation event, along with Qatar Executive and Saudia Private Aviation.
Ali Al Naqbi, Founding Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), says: “We are seeing a spike in the growth of the private business aviation market across the region. When big, game-changing players like Emirates and Etihad get involved; you know things are going to get interesting.”
Al Naqbi has been frequently quoted as anticipating around 1,200 business aircraft to be registered in the region by 2020, and is renowned as being a driving force in encouraging a strong regulatory framework and industry guidelines for regional best practice.
“With Etihad, Saudia, Qatar Airways and Emirates at the event, this is a real testimony that our hard work at MEBAA is paying off; and the commercial airlines want to attend to get a better understanding of the region's private and business aviation market,” says Al Naqbi.
Emirates Executive will be showcasing its Airbus A319 among the MEBA static display. The A319 seats 19, and sleeps 15 (with ten private suites), and has a maximum range of 7,000 kilometres. Emirates’ offering also includes its in-flight entertainment, live TV, video conferencing facilities and high-speed internet and mobile phone connectivity.
Qatar Executive will take the opportunity to showcase its brand-new Bombardier Global 5000 Vision, which features an elegant two cabin configuration with a separate galley, allowing discrete service and maximum comfort for up to 13 passengers.
Etihad Airways has been increasing its first class offerings recently, and has demonstrated ability to appeal to the luxury market with this year’s launch of ‘First Apartments’ and ‘The Residence’ three-room suite on its new Airbus A380s, the first of which will enter service between the UAE capital Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow in the UK, on December 27.
Michele van Akelijen, Managing Director of F&E Aerospace, which is organising the show on behalf of MEBAA, says: “We already support the biggest manufacturers, operators and suppliers in the sector. It's fantastic that these commercial players are now getting involved in the event and their presence will surely complement the private operators.”
MEBAA is the official representative of the business aviation industry in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and is a member of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC).
It is a non-profit association established in 2006 with the mission to provide a platform for members of the business aviation industry in the MENA region to gather, understand and communicate the needs and benefits of the industry.
Today, MEBAA represents over 220 companies within the MENA region and provides a number of products and services to its members, including the MAIS (MEBAA Aviation Insurance Scheme) insurance scheme for operators. In addition to various networking events, MEBAA hosts the MEBA show, which ranks as the third largest business aviation show in the world.
MEBA is billed as a must-attend event for anyone involved in chartering, leasing, selling, purchasing, operating and servicing business and VIP jets. In addition to the exhibition, the event features a static display of the latest business aircraft.
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