Business Aircraft registered in Middle East to double by 2020
- United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, December 11 - 2012 at 11:58
- PRESS RELEASE
Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi, the Chairman of MEBAA set the tone at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference, today (10th December) by opening proceedings on a positive note, declaring that the regional industry would be worth $1 billion by 2018 and have 1375 registered business aircraft by 2020.
Organised by MEBAA on the eve of MEBA 2012 and sponsored by Saudi Private Aviation, the conference gathered twenty of the most prominent leaders in business aviation to discuss regulatory issues, safety standards, illegal charter and developments affecting FBOs and OEMs.
The second keynote speech was given by Rob Wilson, President of Business and General Aviation at Honeywell Aerospace. As an exclusive to MEBAC, Honeywell predicted the future for business aviation in the Middle East and North Africa, echoing Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi by saying that the region, despite not having local manufacturing, accounts for 5% of aircraft demand.
Aside from the keynote speeches, the conference held a series of interactive and open forums, the first focussing on the 'grey market', a term used to describe illegal charter. In this session, the panellists were unanimous and agreed that it is the single biggest problem affecting the development of business aviation in the Middle East. Aoife O' Sullivan of Gates and Partners said that "if a reputable operator leases a business jet for $20,000-$25,000 per hour (Dh73,460-Dh91,825), the grey market will offer it for around $15,000 per hour - that is how bad the problem is." Other panellists, such as Dr Mark J Pierotti, COO for Al Jaber, agreed and said the grey market could account for up to 25% of all movement across the Middle East but because the activity was illegal it was difficult to prove.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Ali Ahmed al Naqbi said: "Business aviation in the Middle East is going through unprecedented change. We saw this last week when Dubai World Central announced it would commence business operations from a dedicated VIP terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport. And today we have heard how the Middle East will return to double digit growth. But the demand for business aviation must be matched by greater airport access and safety regulations that are specific to our operations."
In this regard, al Naqbi said that: "MEBAC is the only conference that involves the entire value chain and works collectively and proactively with regulators and local governments. It provides a platform of complete impartiality with no commercial motivation and our only objective as organisers; is to understand the problems and issues our members face. To this end MEBAA has listened carefully to the challenges discussed today. Our job is now to mobilise the industry and ensure that words turn into action as we move forward in 2013."
Mr. Wajdi A Al Idrissi , Managing Director of Saudi Private Aviation, which was sponsoring the conference added:"Saudi Private Aviation (SPA) took tremendous value from sponsoring the 2nd Edition of MEBAC because it allowed us to connect with the heads of operators, brokers, distributors, FBOs, governments, MROs and manufacturers for a unique opportunity to network and collectively discuss and set common goals for an industry on the march."
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