Middle East Show Attracts BizAv's Big Guns
It used to be that the major aviation trade shows -- with exception of Farnborough and the Paris Air Show -- were all in the U.S. during the spring, summer and fall. Not anymore. Now, with EBACE, LABACE, and shows in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia, it's more a matter of which show is being held this month. And the answer is the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA), which runs today and tomorrow in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, highlighting the industry's growth potential in that region. While AVweb isn't there, most of the big players seem to be, and were already touting their major announcements this week. For example, Airbus put aside its ongoing A380 troubles long enough to announce it had won two new customers for VIP versions of its ultra-long-haul A340s -- one for an A340-500 and one for an A340-300. The airframer said the market for VIP-configured widebody aircraft has been increasingly active in recent years, with the company booking its first firm order for a VIP A340-600 in 2005, plus a VIP A330-200 for an undisclosed customer, in 2006. The company said its latest sales build on a customer base of 40 or so VIP and government versions of Airbus widebodies already in service.