The Middle East Bizav Boom

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The Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference at Airport Expo Dubai held last week was ground zero for optimism regarding business aviation in that region. Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy delivered the expo's second-day keynote address bolstered by reports that the business aviation sector in the United Arab Emirates presently supports more than 1,200 arrivals per month. Those numbers aside, the expo's "on-site declared order book" topped $830 million on its second (and final) day. As it is, nearly $600 million of that was claimed by Airbus through the sale of six aircraft (including two VIP A340 widebodies and two A318 corporate aircraft). One major stumbling block for more growth in the region might be the seemingly slow-paced development of international air service agreements and landing rights. Overall, however, business aviation is said to be growing more affordable in the Middle East and is expected to become a larger player in the economics of the region as industry growth translates into job creation.