Cessna Wins $90 Million Contract For Three Columbus Jets, Other
For all the woes now plaguing the global private aircraft
industry, there was little sign of financial turmoil at this week's
Middle East Business Aviation 2008 show in Dubai. The three-day
event wrapped up Tuesday with close to $1.5 billion in new aircraft
orders for exhibitors.
Business publication AME Info reports one of the last deals
announced at MEBA was a $90 million order from Wallan Aviation for
a range of new and used Cessna aircraft -- including three Citation
Columbus large-cabin jets, a Caravan turboprop and two used CJs.
Wallan is a Cessna distributor, and refused to disclose the
identities of its customers for the aircraft.
"The Middle East is a growing market for us and our class of
jets," said Trevor Esling, Cessna's Vice President, International
Sales, Europe, Middle East and Africa. "We know that the Middle
East market is very much a see it, touch it, feel it market and
MEBA, which is well organized, with excellent infrastructure and
great access for a big event, allows us to establish relationships
on a face-to-face basis with potential customers."
A relative upstart received its first Middle Eastern order.
Project Phoenix -- which converts used CRJ200 regional airliners
into plush 12- to 19-seat executive transports -- won a
high-profile order for one of its planes from Egyptian film star
and martial arts expert Yousef Mansour.
MEBA 2008 was over three times the size of last year's inaugural
event, according to show organizers. More than 70 aircraft were on
static display, and some 250 companies from 30 countries
participated in the exhibition.
Despite mounting concern over the dismal state of the global
economy, Ali Al Naqbi, founder of the Middle East Business Aviation
Association (MEBAA), says he remains optimistic about the growing
need for business aviation... and predicts the next MEBA event in
two years will be even grander.
"This event was perfect, It was three times as big as 2007 and
exhibitors have told me that they had direct access to the people
they needed to do business with," he said. "After all the deals and
announcements we have seen at MEBA 2008, we can be assured that the
market is growing and that there is plenty of confidence out
While most exhibitors said they expect the Middle East market to
escape the current crisis relatively unscathed, not everyone
believes the oil-rich region will be totally immune from global
"It will be unrealistic to assume that Middle East will be
insulated from the shocks of the global financial turbulence," Mike
Barry, Middle East Managing Director for ExecuJet, told The Khaleej