11-13 December 2012
Dubai World Central Airport
This relatively young trade show has now moved into third place behind the NBAA in the USA and EBACE in Geneva as a showcase for executive jets and all their associated trimmings.
Previously hosted at the Dubai International airport this was its first showing at the new Dubai World Central (DWC); slightly south of the city and closer to the Etihad hub at Abu Dhabi. Now serving as a freight hub, DWC is finding it difficult to attract airlines and much of the infrastructure is incomplete; however, business jet fixed base operators are staking their claims as they are eased out of Dubai International by the growth of Emirates and its local subsidiary Fly Dubai.
MEBA attendees was up about 20% from the last show but the static display only held around 45 bizjets, many of which were already familiar in European skies. Most were large business jets, in keeping with the local market and its long range and luxury requirements. Of exceptional interest were two training types from Diamond Aircraft drawn from the new Saudi flight training school. These are a sign of the new initiatives in the Gulf region to protect and enhance the region’s pilot supply for the ever growing airliner fleets.
There were no flying demonstrations and the indoor exhibitions were within the central terminal structure. Flying activity was limited to some helicopter flights and the occasional arrival of an Ilyushin 76 or Boeing 747 on freighter duty. Given that this enormous airfield is surrounded by desert this seems to be a missed opportunity having escaped the confines and movements at Dubai International. The next show is scheduled for December 2014. Only time will tell if this venue, which by then should have a custom built exhibition zone, is filling up with airline traffic by then, either through choice or new regulations. If not then Dubai International will be seriously overcrowded.
Post show reports suggest that a great deal of useful business was done in the chalets suggesting that this region continues to aspire and succeed in the sector.