huge prospects for the dubai airshow as region’s aviation players gear up for expansion

Published November 14th, 2007 - 01:00 GMT

huge prospects for the dubai airshow as region’s aviation players gear up for expansion
As the record-breaking Dubai Airshow 2007 – the biggest in the event’s history – entered its fourth day, the future of the biennial event looks brighter than ever as major regional aviation players outlined huge expansion plans.
Saudi Arabia’s National Air Services (NAS), the fastest-growing independent provider of aviation services in the Middle East, told media at the show that it intends to add 120 new aircraft to its fleet over the next five years.
NAS Chairman Ayed Al Jeaid said the mega investment, which is expected to spill over US $4 billion, is part of the NAS’ strategy to diversify and integrate its strategic business units while entering new markets for its private and commercial services across the region. NAS President Taher Agueel said the company is currently reviewing proposals from local banks and international finance firms to fund the acquisition plans.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet, which has also announced a five-year fleet expansion plan, has said it will also totally refurbish its Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) fleet of five – currently the world’s largest. The luxury executive jet provider says configuration lay-outs will be overhauled and upgraded and interiors revamped. Three of the five BBJs which have bedrooms on board will be upgraded with the installation of luxury showers in the adjoining bathrooms.
Orders continued at the show – which has already broken all aerospace exhibition on-site order books with an intake in excess of US $100 billion – with Airbus announcing the sale of nine A321 aircraft to the new Egyptian airline Nile Air.
In addition, Eclipse Aviation, the manufacturer of the world’s first Very Light Jet (VLJ) has sold 12 Eclipse 500 jets to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Flight Academy, the first of which will be delivered next year.
The Alpha Aviation Group, a specialist global aviation training provider, sealed a joint venture with Sharjah’s Air Arabia to launch a new US $20 million International Aviation Training Academy in the northern emirate.
Alpha Aviation Academy (UAE) LLC is the second of Alpha’s global network of international aviation academies and will be modelled on its existing academy in the Philippines. In addition to satisfying Air Arabia’s own internal needs for pilots to man its expanding fleet of aircraft, the academy will also train and supply pilots for other carriers in the region.

Europe Aviation and Fujairah International Airport also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an Aircraft Maintenance Facility at the airport, signalling the emirate’s growing importance as an aviation centre on the UAE’s east coast.
“The entire regional aviation sector has demonstrated commitment to huge investment and expansion at this show which can only be good for the Dubai Airshow, which will mirror the growth,” said Virginia Kern, Chairman, Fairs & Exhibitions (F&E), which organises the event in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority of Dubai and in collaboration with the UAE Armed Forces.
Dubai Airshow 2007 features 850 exhibitors from 50 countries, 11 national pavilions and over 140 aircraft. The show has packed the Airport Expo Dubai, where it runs until Thursday evening (November 15).
In 2009 the show will move to a bigger, purpose-built site at Dubai World Central.

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