in Business Aviation / Business & Finance / People
MEBA2012: Middle East BizAv market set to grow to US$1 billion
This year's Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show kicks off with some strong stats from organisers – the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) – which says that the local market will be worth US$1 billion by 2018.
Speaking at the second edition of the Middle East Business Aviation Conference yesterday, MEBAA founding chairman Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi (pictured) said there is “huge growth potential” for the sector in the region.
He said there had been a 12% rise in traffic since last year and predicted that, in the next seven years, the installed fleet would grow from 500 to 1,300 aircraft.
He also said that MEBAA would start to work closely with the 23 regional authorities to help draft a regional business aviation policy that would mean the time to register a new business aircraft would reduce substantially from today’s six months-plus.
Al Naqbi famously believes that raising awareness is the key to success in developing the market. MEBAA achieves this partly by running the biannual MEBA show – this year preceded by the second edition of the Middle East Business Aviation Conference.
The 2012 MEBA visitor total is expected to be 15% up on the 2010 edition, comprising 7,000 visitors and 375 exhibitors. The event takes place at the new Dubai World Central airport.
Gabriel Tillman, executive vice president of Qatar Airways, however, criticised the organisation and said that MEBAA needed to be a global entity to compete internationally and not be just “a small offshoot of NBAA”.
Al Naqbi countered that MEBAA has a global focus and works closely with the 15 associations around the world and has the support of the International Business Aviation Council.
MEBAA is one of the most active business aviation forums in the world and plays a key role in shaping legislation and developing the sector across the Gulf.
Al Naqbi cautioned that the regional industry needed a roadmap with set milestones to guide it to a successful future. He said: “MEBA is here to help and support the sector. We are listening carefully to all that people say. We aim to help them steer a safe course towards a successful future and will keep track of every milestone mentioned today and help turn your words into actions before we meet next year.”