The Middle East business aviation market, which has more than doubled over the past five years, is expected to remain on that trajectory and reach $1 billion in the next five years, industry executives predict.

The region took 246 business aircraft deliveries between 2006-2011, accounting for nearly 40% of the fleet in the Middle East, according to Hawker Beechcraft. This is a 132% increase from the 106 business aircraft deliveries that occurred between 2002-2006, the Wichita airframer says.

Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi, founding chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), estimates the installed business aircraft fleet could grow to 1,300 aircraft by 2020. Speaking before the kickoff of the 2012 Middle East Business Aviation Show (MEBA), Al Naqbi estimated that the current business aircraft market is valued at $493 million, but could be worth $1 billion by 2018, saying, “There is huge growth potential here.”

Saudia Arabia currently accounts for 21% of the business turbine fleet in the Middle East, making it currently the most mature market, Hawker Beechcraft says. United Arab Emirates follows with 17% of the fleet. Both experienced triple-digit growth over the past five years – 146% in Saudi Arabia and 250% in the UAE. But growth has been evident across the region, except in Israel, Kuwait and Iran.

Hawker Beechcraft, which has had success with its King Air line in the Middle East, says it has been bolstering its customer support network to prepare for growth. This includes partnering with ExecuJet, which provides a $5 million inventory housed in Dubai. Hawker Beechcraft also teamed with Arabasco to have an authorized service center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

French plane maker Dassault has also increased its support in the region, including a sales office, authorized service center and spares distribution center in Dubai and an authorized service center and technical office in Jeddah.

Dassault expects the fleet of Falcons to grow by 10% over the next 18 months. Currently 60 Falcons are based in the Middle East.

“The Middle East business jet market and its infrastructure are continuing to mature” says Dassault Falcon President and CEO John Rosanvallon, citing development of facilities such as Al Maktoum International Airport. He also notes the increased globalization and establishment of larger operators in the region.

Support and a manufacturing presence will be key for moving forward, says Mubadala Aerospace Executive Director Homaid Al Shemmari. “We don’t want to continue the same game,” says Shemmari. “We now want exchange. We will buy 100 planes but we want something in return. We want investment in this region in terms of manufacturing, support and supply.”