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Different expectations for Abu Dhabi’s Air Expo

Dubai: It is less than likely the Abu Dhabi Air Expo, which gets underway at Al Bateen Executive Aiprot on Tuesday, will encourage the same headline-grabbing deals of last year’s Dubai Airshow.

The Dubai Airshow turned over more than $200 billion (Dh735 billion) in deals and attracted 60,692 visitors during the five-day industry-led trade event. In comparison, 13,500 attended last year’s Abu Dhabi Air Expo and $1.3 billion in deals were signed.

But the Abu Dhabi Air Expo is targeting a different niche that is still dominated by traditional markets.

“Business jet usage is still anchored in North America but the Middle East and China have large growth opportunities,” said Will Horton, senior analyst at Capa-Centre for Avation.

The familiar airlines, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways, and manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, will be in Abu Dhabi this week but people could be watching some of the other carriers.

“Implications for the Gulf carriers are limited,” Horton said. “But as you note Emirates and Qatar have business jets so some opportunities there.”

The ones to watch could be some of local executive service providers including Falcon Aviation Services and Rotana Jets.

“Often local regional carriers will appear to support the industry,” Horton said.

Bombardier, Dassault Aviation, Gulfsteam and Embraer, all foreign-based business jet manufacturers, will all be present at the expo.

The Abu Dhabi Air Expo runs from Tuesday until Thursday and organisers expect more than 17,000 visitors to pass through the gates over the three days, with 175 exhibitors and more than 100 aircraft on display.

“For the third year running, Abu Dhabi Air Expo 2014 is set to showcase the latest developments of the general and business aviation industry in the region,” said Ali Majed Al Mansouri, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports. “The opportunities the show will present create an unprecedented platform for industry leaders to engage and discuss developments in the field.”

— With inputs from agencies