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It's a Who's Who of aviation and innovation

Posted 26 November 2018 · Add Comment

The Middle East’s top business aviation conference and exhibition returns to Dubai World central (DWC) in December. Dave Calderwood looks forward to the event.

The biennial Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) Conference & Exhibition Dubai will be staged for the eighth time this year, returning to the purpose-built exhibition centre at Dubai World Central from December 10-12.
For the first time, the conference will be incorporated on to the show floor, along with a host of other new ideas.
The conference will be split into four different sessions across two days – Tuesday and Wednesday December 11-12 – and will include both a UAE market focus and analysis of the worldwide business aviation market.
There will be panel discussions and presentations on topics such as what is being done to drive business aviation forward, the latest trends and regulations, identifying how best to take advantage, plus business aviation insurance and how it is changing, including protection against new potential threats.
It seems no conference these days is complete without a discussion on blockchain – simply put, a secure digital ledger of economic transactions. The conference will examine how it’s being used in other industries and how it might be applied in business aviation.
The other initiatives include an executive club lounge for business aviation operators – an exclusive area dedicated to meetings and networking – the jetsetter welcome reception in the afternoon of the first day, and a product demonstration theatre, where exhibitors are invited to show off their latest innovations.
DWC is the natural location for the show since it outgrew its original site at Dubai International. Not only is there plenty of space, both in the exhibition hall and on the flightline, but it’s in the heart of the rapidly developing Dubai South area.
Many of Dubai business aviation companies are just a few minutes away, including the award-winning VIP terminals and FBOs.
As before, MEBAA is expected to draw an audience of around 10,000 business aviation professionals from across the Middle East, Europe, eastern Europe and Russia, and, of course, the USA.
The show not only showcases the companies based in the Middle East but is also a meeting point for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers and services across the world.
Ali Alnaqbi, founding and executive chairman of MEBAA, said: “The MEBAA show is the largest business aviation event in the MENA region. The growth seen over the years is testament to the value it brings the exhibitors and attendees.
“Face-to-face meetings are a key part of doing business in the region and the show provides a much-needed platform for the industry to meet, network and do business.
“The addition of new features for 2018, such as the aircraft operators executive club lounge, jetsetter welcome reception, and product demonstration theatre, will provide further opportunities for attendees to achieve this.
“The business aviation industry in the MENA region continues to grow. Jetex estimated that there were about 30,600 private jet flights out of Dubai alone in 2017, while the Dubai Airports combined see around 50,000 ultra-high-net-worth passengers per year. The expansion of airports in the UAE will facilitate this industry growth, and movements are anticipated to continue to increase.”
That growth is reflected in the exhibitor list, which reads like a who’s who of business aviation, and is expected to total around 500 companies.
All of the business aircraft manufacturers are attending, most bringing some of their latest aircraft, though at the time of writing these had still be confirmed.
Manufacturers attending include Bombardier, Boeing, Dassault, Diamond Aircraft, Embraer, Gulfstream and Textron Aviation.
Major specialist suppliers such as Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rockwell Collins, CAE and Jeppesen, are attending to present their latest technology and services.
Services and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organisations include completions experts AMAC Aerospace, Citadel, Comlux and Jet Aviation.
Of course, operators are at the heart of MEBAA, and include such major players such as DC Aviation, ExecuJet, Falcon Aviation Services, GAMA Aviation, Saudi Private Aviation, Gainjet, Harrods Aviation, Seaprime and TAG UK.
Many new exhibitors have also signed up for this year’s event. They include internet connectivity experts Airmont of France, UAE-based aviation services Airports World Company, AvFuel, Aviation Jobsearch, Citadel Completions, and the Emirates National Oil Company, ENOC.
Belgium’s FlyingGroup opened a base at Dubai South in 2017 and will be attending MEBAA for the first time.
“Dubai South was a natural choice to start our Middle East operations, given Dubai’s geographical location and the industry-leading aviation ecosystem Dubai South has established at DWC,” said Mark Hardman, managing director of FlyingGroup Middle East.
“Furthermore, we strongly believe that DWC is the future of business aviation in Dubai, with 65% of fixed-base operation (FBO) movements already operating from the new airport.”
German MRO specialist, MSI, set up a base in Dubai as long ago as 1998, and it will be exhibiting at MEBAA for the first time.
Another first-timer from Europe, this time Switzerland, is Nomad Aviation. It offers aircraft management, charter and maintenance services and operates a mixed fleet of aircraft, ranging from light to ultra-long-range jets, including Gulfstream 650 and 450, Bombardier CRJ100SE, Global 5000, Challenger 604, Embraer Legacy 650 and 600, and Cessna CJ2+ and CJ1+. Nomad started to offer maintenance and hangarage services at its Basel, Switzerland facility from the beginning of August 2018, dealing with aircraft up to the size of an A320 or B737.
Slightly more specialised are two US companies at MEBAA for the first time – Signature Plating, which offers high-quality plating and materials finishing for aircraft and yacht interiors, and Tronair, a ground-support equipment company.
Tronair was named Gulfstream Supplier of the Year earlier this year, which places it in a select band of suppliers to Gulfstream Aerospace. Among its products is the Jetporter Softcapture towbarless vehicle, which has no need of straps or contact with the aircraft’s nosegear.
The latest model is the electric eJP-10, capable of towing aircraft up to 125,000lb in weight.
All this and much more will be coming to MEBAA this December.

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