Before I start on this blog piece, let me just make a statement about the recent terror attacks in Mumbai. Bloggers everywhere have flooded the Blogspehere with condemnation and justifiably vented their anger and frustration at such an open attack being allowed to happen. To the people who lost their lives and to those who escaped with psychological scars that will remain for a very long time and to a nation that withstood such an attack, I salute them. I salute the people who bravely faced these attackers and who laid down their lives or ended up with injuries in the effort to save the rest of us from these monsters. Nothing more I write can extinguish the depressed feeling that we all suffered from this onslaught that was broadcast around the World.
In my last blog I had written about my trip to Dubai to attend the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) event, an air show held once in two years and showcasing the latest in business and corporate aviation. My participation was also to gather information on how the market was moving for aviation products and to know the pulse of the aviation scene as it is currently.
To those of you who have traveled on Emirates Airlines, you’d have been lucky to have entered or departed through the spanking new Terminal 3 at the Dubai International Airport. The sheer size of this new terminal and the opulence that goes with it makes one wonder if they have overdone it. For those of us used to Indian airports and even new ones such as the sorry one at Bangalore, cannot but be wonder struck at experiencing just one terminal in Dubai. One thing noticeable is that the airport is filled with foreigners, mostly Filipinas working in all departments except immigration! For a moment it looks like one may have landed in Manila by mistake.
The much awaited high speed train network that I saw them building during my last visit here a year ago, is not complete yet and passengers still have to take taxis to their venues. There is a slow down in construction projects in Dubai and the region, the low price of oil adding to their misery. Low oil price means great news for aviation generally and I thought that the market as we knew it was bottoming out in all spheres and perhaps there was still hope for aviation.
(Chalets were occupied but saw few serious visitors)
The MEBA event started with little fanfare and the first day saw very low turn out in terms of visitors. The event was well represented by manufacturers of various Business Jet Aircraft. The only problem that there was a sever lacking of potential buyers. I have never been to an air show that looked so bare. One could stroll around the booths indoors and among the many Aircraft outdoors that were flown in to the event for display at great costs, without running into a sea of humanity.
(Business helicopters on display)
I had reported in this blog, during last year’s Dubai Air Show and this year’s Singapore Air Show, that I had seen frenetic buying and selling of Aircraft and equipment. I had experienced so much positivity in people who came to do buy Aircraft and announce mega deals during that time, unsuspecting that the economic situation of the World would, in a few months, would be like someone pulled a massive rug from underneath their feet, leaving everyone scrambling to save themselves. That showed clearly during this event with even participants from the countries that were relatively better off, failing to make any impression. My first video on my blog below shows many Aircraft on display and few visitors and this was during peak hours.
(Aircraft display at MEBA)
What I would report from this trip is that aviation, which usually is the first industry to suffer during any economic downturn anywhere, is in the doldrums. That was reflected during this trip. But opportunists will see this as a great time to consolidate and buy Aircraft. New Aircraft positions are available and many without the premium attached to it. For those who invest in used Aircraft, there are tremendous deals out there to be made. It is a veritable buyers market driven by the fact that there are very few buyers out there.
(Sunset over the Dubai skyline with the new Burj Towers that will one day be the World's tallest building)
As I conclude this blog, I’m making plans for acquisitions, best time to get maximum value for money. Watch this space next month, when I think Aircraft values go further South, and I make a beeline for a good deal. Wish me luck!