Business aviation turns its focus to Dubai as the 2012 Middle East Business Aviation event prepares to open. More than 7,000 visitors are projected to attend this show – MEBA’s fifth. The three-day event takes place December 11-13 at a new location, Al Maktoum International Airport – Dubai World Center. The show promises many other firsts – from a first-ever dedicated U.S. Pavilion to the launch of new focus areas: helicopters, business airports and VIP interiors.

Poised for Growth

The last show, in 2010, featured 48 aircraft. This year visitors can check out a static display of 60 business aircraft, some making their premiere in the region. Manufacturers Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer and Gulfstream all plan to showcase their products – seeking to leverage projected business aircraft deliveries in the Middle East and Africa of more than 2,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

Connecting at Points of Relevance

The Middle East is a place of deep tradition, but it also is a region in rapid transition. Although marketing engagement channels have yet to reach as far and wide as they do in some other developed areas, they do connect with the more affluent as well as a growing percentage of the general population. In this modern, technologically savvy area most universal marketing rules apply. Social media is huge. Environmental concerns resonate. Mobile is taking over. Pop culture influences the increasingly important youth faction. And – as with everywhere – content is king.

Shows such as MEBA offer unrivaled opportunity for the best connection of all: face to face. If you’re not at this year’s show, you may well want to rethink that when the next one comes round in 2014.

On With the Show

By now, exhibitor plans have been locked down – booths finalized, ads submitted to the show dailies. From our perch in the Air Capital, we extend our best wishes for a show that delivers bigger and better than ever.

Aviation photographer Paul Bowen (and father of Ashley Bowen Cook) has seen business aviation mature in the Middle East. The Middle East Business Aviation Association estimates that the aviation market will reach an annual value of $1 billion by the 2018. As in the States, ongoing education and heightened awareness continue to be key – reinforcing that these aircraft serve as critical tools needed for 21st century business success.

*This article originally appeared in the November 29 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.