MEBAA chief expects upswing in business aviation in 2021

Natural physical distancing will encourage more first and business class passengers to fly privately
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MEBAA, Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise for the need of  physical distancing will lead to an increase in private flying and growth in business aviation next year, according to Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, founding and executive chairman of The Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA).

He said there are significant opportunities for development of the sector and advised companies to invest carefully in aircraft type in the future. With smaller, private terminals with fewer staff on board the aircraft that have a limited number of crew serving passengers – business aviation can deal with the impact of Covid-19 more effectively.

“Business aviation has always had some degree of natural physical distancing in place and as such it is less difficult for companies within this industry to adapt to the new normal,” said Alnaqbi.

“We expect to see an increase in demand in private flying and we will see opportunities open up. We are witnessing new groups of people who usually used to fly on commercial airlines now choosing to fly privately.”

Alnaqbi did however highlight that 2020 has been a tough year for business aviation in general. Many companies have gone through difficulties this year, to the point where some of them have been close to shutting down.

He added that no one is able to properly predict what is going to happen until the end of this year as it depends on the decisions of governments in different countries and the changes in processes and procedures.

The MEBAA Chairman expects there to be a slow recovery this year and is hoping that we see the end of the pandemic by the end of 2020. He is optimistic about the prospects of business aviation for 2021 and highlighted that ensuring health and safety is the number one priority for the industry.

“We are lucky that our show will be happening at the end of the year. Everybody is excited to have at least one aviation event in 2020. The MEBAA Show will bring confidence back for business and private aviation.

“People are looking forward to it as most of the other shows have been postponed until next year. The priority is the safety of our colleagues, attendees, exhibitors and partners and we are monitoring the situation closely. The outlook is positive and if anything happens that forces us to go otherwise, we will put the health and safety of those involved as the overriding priority.”

The MEBAA Show, the Middle East’s leading business aviation platform, is set to return to Dubai, taking place on 8-10 December 2020 at DWC, Airshow Site.

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