The region´s fervour for private aviation and ease of getting to Dubai have ensured the Middle East Business Aviation show - on 7-9 December - has secured its place alongside NBAA in the USA and Europe´s EBACE as one of the sector´s must-attends.
Launched in 2007 as an exhibition proper, the now-biennial show is expected to attract 7,000 trade visitors. There will be 350 exhibitors, 40% more than 2008, says Fairs & Exhibitions, which runs MEBA on behalf of the 140-member Middle East Business Aviation Association and is behind the Dubai air show and other aviation conventions in the city.
This year, for the first time, the show will occupy two of the Dubai International Airport Expo´s three halls. Exhibitors include the big six business jet airframers as well as Airbus and Boeing.
The format is similar to EBACE, with an indoor exhibition and static display of 70 aircraft. However, unlike its Geneva counterpart, there are also hospitality chalets. Those at the show for the first time include Honeywell and Ruag as well as some new names in the charter and service provider fields, such as MoonJet of Sharjah and Smart Aviation in Egypt.
As with all aviation shows in the teeming city state, MEBA has the blessing of the ruling family. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum - the man ultimately in charge of Dubai Airports, Emirates and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority - will open the event.
However, MEBA will not stay in Dubai. MEBAA, the association, is keen to rotate the event around the region and neighbouring Abu Dhabi is favourite to play host in 2012. An announcement will be made at the show.
As other centres of business aviation emerge in the Middle East and North Africa - from Libya to Lebanon - other cities could also be in contention in future, says MEBAA chairman Ali Al Naqbi.