MEBAA: A Platform to Voice Regional Business Aviation Concerns
MEBAA, acronym for Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association, was created in 2006 by a small group of sixteen Founding Members with the core objective of promoting orderly growth of Business Aviation in the Middle East and North African Region. Headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, MEBAA has grown rapidly from a humble beginning to register an impressive presence on all fronts. Membership comprising Operators, MROs, FBOs, Manufacturers, Suppliers, and Aviation Regulatory Authorities had reached 230 as of mid-November 2014.
The Association has organized and implemented five editions of the MEBA Show, with the sixth MEBA set to begin on the 8th of December 2014. In addition to addressing critical issues such as the grey market and advocacy for Business Aviation from its HQ location in Dubai, MEBAA has hosted more than half a dozen Business Aviation Conferences in locations such as Jordon, Jeddah, Bahrain, Marrakesh, Beirut and Riyadh. The Association also promoted and lobbied for the first exclusive airport in the region dedicated to Business Aviation, Abu Dhabi Executive.
MEBAA's growth since its beginning has been organic in nature, with due prioritizing of many activities that go into orderliness and stability for the Business Aviation community within the region. Hence, the Association has addressed the issue of governing documents like bylaws, policies and procedures and legal registration as per the governing laws of United Arab Emirates.
Next in line was entry into the global arena through membership in the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). Closer co-ordination with peer associations in the industry like NBAA and EBAA provided the right impetus and confidence to commence the Association’s journey towards attaining its goals.
MEBA Show 2007, though modest in size and content, gave the Association the necessary confidence to move further, and by contrast, the MEBA Show 2012 (the first major event to be staged at the custom built Dubai Air Show site at Dubai World Central at Jebel Ali, Dubai) saw an impressive turnout of 7,549 trade visitors, over 50 Rulers of the Region and other members of the Royal Families, a huge assemblage of 338 Exhibitors from over 45 countries, a static display of 45 aircraft, an exhibition area of 67,117 square meters and the attendance of 338 media personnel.
MEBA Show 2014 is expected to better these numbers, thus securing the MEBA Show as the third biggest Business Aviation conference and exhibition behind NBAA’s BACE and EBAA’s EBACE.
Today, the prime focus and thrust of all MEBAA activities is to keep the Members’ interest and benefit as its primary goal. Many of the Members’ concerns, be it with any governmental regulatory authority, unreasonable cost of services at any of the region’s airports, or airport access issues in troubled locations such as Iraq, MEBAA has taken the issue to the right quarters to arrive at an amicable resolution.
Marshalling the collective needs and demands of Members, MEBAA has successfully launched many programs - such as the MEBAA Aviation Insurance Scheme (MAIS) in association with reputed insurance agencies within the region, Emergency Response Systems (ERS) with Kenyon, and IS-BAO training/consultancy.
The Association is promoting balanced growth of MEBAA activities in the entire Middle East and North African Region, and facilitating regional events such as Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association Conference (MEBAA Conference) to provide meeting/networking opportunities for all its Members.
Topics addressed in such conferences range from airworthiness regulatory reforms, illegal flights, risk perception/management, industry progress forecast, contemporary safety and security issues, and political developments within the region as well as neighboring areas. MEBAA’s forums have been well-attended, and the proceedings of these events are acclaimed to offer a high educational content.
Fly and Feed
In order to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) amidst Members, MEBAA in collaboration with World Food Program (WFP) - a United Nations Humanitarian organization - launched the Fly and Feed scheme to coordinate the contributions from the customers of Members and from Members themselves to fight global hunger. This Scheme is just taking off, and the initial response has been encouraging.
MEBAA is an active member of IBAC, and has made its contribution in many activities like emission control and safety issues. It organizes regular IS-BAO training sessions in the region that evoke encouraging response from Members. The Association is also a regular participant at the NBAA and EBACE programs to maintain a personal touch with such peer associations.
Growth of MEBAA in such a short period of eight years is spectacular, but at the same time the Association is aware that maintaining such growth has its own challenges. Nevertheless, the Membership is confident that MEBAA has the necessary momentum to meet such challenges, especially under the able and inspiring leadership of its Founding Chairman Mr. Ali Al Naqbi, who has been steering MEBAA since inception in 2006.
Further growth plans of MEBAA have been developed and will be revealed at MEBA Show 2014 in Dubai.