MEBAA Show 2022 opens as crowds gather to drive sustainable business aviation

- H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum inaugurates the show as global industry leaders gather to define the future of the industry

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, today opened the much-anticipated MEBAA Show 2022 at Dubai Airshow site (DWC).

Reaffirming the MEBAA Show’s position as the foremost business aviation platform in the Middle East and wider regions, gathering key players in the industry from over 95 countries, the ninth edition of the global business aviation show will run until 8th December 2022.

With an increased international presence at this year’s show and an up-weighted focus on in-person networking, Day 1 saw business leaders from across the world connect with exhibitors, all working together to redefine the future of the industry and take it to new heights. Key themes for the event include future aviation, sustainability, emerging markets and regulations, as well as a focus on digitalisation, block chain, AI and crypto based payments, all recognised as key trends that are driving the industry forward.

Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, Founding and Executive Chairman of MEBAA – the Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association, comments: “As we continue to witness huge growth across the business aviation industry, it’s been fantastic to see so many new initiatives highlighted at this year’s MEBAA Show. Day 1 has already seen the formation of many new connections between our visitors and exhibitors, along with the launch of a series of market-leading new technologies and sustainable solutions that will play a vital role in the future of the industry. We are pleased to be working with global industry leaders and specialists to deliver our best show to date, and look forward to seeing a continuation of today’s success over the next two days and beyond.”

Day 1 saw the launch of the first-ever BizAv Talks conference, which included a series of seven presentations and panel discussions on the daily theme – Future Private Jet Business Models. With sustainability a key focus for this year’s show, Rolland Vincent, Creator / Director at JETNET iQ, Alexandre Geahchan, MENA Commercial, General & Military Aviation Account Manager at Air BP, and Trine Braathen, Senior Manager Sustainability – Carbon Markets at World Kinect Energy, joined the panel discussion ‘Strategies for business aviation sustainability’, which was moderated by Douglas Carr, SVP, Safety, Security, Sustainability & International Affairs at National Business Aviation Association. The discussion focussed on Sustainable Aviation Fuel and approaches to reducing the carbon footprint of the industry. They also highlighted technology advances on the road to sustainability.

During the discussions, Carr said: “The aviation industry has unprecedented pressure on sustainability, with a special focus on business aviation. The industry as a whole has committed to milestones that will be necessary to reach net zero goals and fuel is the single biggest opportunity to make aviation sustainable.”

Geahchan followed with: “A lot of focus is on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It shares a lot of the chemistry with jet fuel, which makes it promising for the industry as a solution that can be used without any changes to existing aircraft. SAF can reduce emissions by 80% over the life of an aircraft.”

Meanwhile on the show floor, a huge number of exhibitors displayed the latest aircraft, technology and solutions. In light of the business aviation industry’s remarkable growth over the last few years, this has opened up huge opportunities for innovation – much of which was on display at the MEBAA show. With the global private jet market projected to reach nearly $40 billion in 2025, from an estimate of almost $26 billion in 2021, exhibitors presented a series of new innovative aircraft, all equipped with specialist features. These included the Boeing – 737, SkyLady Boeing 767-200ER, Dassault Aviation – FALCON 8X, Bombardier Aerospace – Global 7500, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation – G700 & G650ER, Embraer – Praetor 600, Airbus ACJ TwoTwenty, and Phenom 300E plus the Learjet 60XR and many more.

Speaking of Airbus’ participation in the MEBAA Show, Benoit Defforge, President of Airbus Corporate Jets, commented: “The Middle East is the leading market for ACJ and we are proud to be at the MEBAA Show this year, demonstrating our latest innovation within the business aviation sector. We see significant opportunities in the region for further growth and aircraft renewals, especially considering that more than 100 of the large private jets are older than 15 years old, which represents more than 40% of the fleet. Through our ACJ Connect solutions, we provide the most advanced and sustainable private aircraft, with cutting-edge connectivity, inflight entertainment and operations. We look forward to even more collaboration with our regional and global customers for years to come.”

Mohamed Hussain Ahmed, CEO of RoyalJet, also commented: “MEBAA is an industry-leading event that brings together aviation enthusiasts, professionals, business leaders, policymakers, customers, and change agents from across the globe to network and interact, and we are delighted to participate. I am looking forward to having productive discussions at the event and I am also hoping to witness some of the latest technology and digital solutions in aviation that will facilitate rapid digital transformation in the industry.”

During Day 1, there were also a series of key announcements. Lufthansa Technik awarded a contract for VIP cabin completion of an ACJ320neo. Meanwhile, Empire Aviation Group marked its 15th anniversary at the show and announced the induction of a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) into its regional managed fleet of business jets and signed an agreement with the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) at Dubai South to develop a new, multi-purpose business aviation facility on a plot adjacent to the VIP Terminal.

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