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Sun 1 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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Growth predicted for business jet sector

The Middle East’s business aviation sector is set to double over the next six years, according to a new association representing the business jet sector.

Founding chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), Ali Al Naqbi, said that the Middle East business aircraft fleet generates revenues in excess of US$500 million annually across various industry segments such as aircraft charter, maintenance and refurbishment.

Speaking at a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Orlando, Florida, last month, Al Naqbi said that the six Gulf Co-operation Council States (GCC) - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar - account for an 80% share of total Middle East business aviation activity.

He believes the figure could well reach billions of dollars when the the value of
new aircraft deliveries and aircraft completions is taken into consideration.

“In the Middle East, business aviation activities are growing at approximately 11% a year,” he said.

But despite the growth, the value of business aviation is not well understood in the region, according to Al Naqbi. “With the creation of a dedicated association to serve this important segment, we are looking to increase the region’s awareness of the industry and drive forward best of breed practices,” he said.

Jack Olcott, an adviser for MEBAA said that: “now is the right time to bring together business aviation users and suppliers operating in the Middle East so that the community’s capabilities and needs can be expressed effectively to regulatory bodies, to media and to business leaders.”

MEBAA’s members include operators Saudi Arabia’s National Air Services and Abu Dhabi-headquartered Royal Jet, manufacturers Gulfstream and Lufthansa Technik, Wallan Business Jets, Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jets.

It hopes to grow it’s membership to 30 by the end of the year.

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