Arab Times

Small US firms eye big cos at airshow

American SMEs vying for lucrative ME market


DUBAI, Nov 11, (AP): US aerospace manufactur­er Pratt & Whitney doesn’t just have a booth at this year’s Dubai Airshow. The company takes up two chalets outside the main exhibition hall alongside other aviation and defense giants like Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

Just inside the hall, however, a father-and-son team from Jupiter, Florida are selling Pratt & Whitney engine overhaul parts at a fraction of the manufactur­er’s price through authorized distributo­rs and wooing clients with offers of better service.

Global Turbine Parts is one of 150 US businesses taking part in the Middle East’s most important airshow, which runs this week until Thursday in the United Arab Emirates. This year, small and medium-sized businesses from the US have expanded their presence at the show, vying for a cut of the Gulf’s lucrative aviation and defense market, while directly competing with some of the world’s biggest players.

Sergio Azoy Jr, who runs Global Turbine Parts with his father, says it’s their third time at the biennial airshow. He says the company, which has five employees and is a broker and supplier of turbine engine parts, gained five clients in the Middle East since the 2013 show. Their client list now includes the Dubai police department, Bahrain’s police department and a UAE-based flight academy, among others.

“Even though it may be a small part compared to the billion-dollar deals being signed, we’re proud to be a part of it,” Azoy said, referring to the Mideast aviation industry.

He says there’s a chance to compete for sales because smaller companies like his offer personaliz­ed service.

Service “If you give them good pricing and service ... they’re going to come to you,” he said.

About $190 billion in deals was announced at the last Dubai airshow, where Florida was the only US state with an official presence. Its pavilion hosted 11 small and medium-sized businesses, giving them a boost through the state’s economic developmen­t organizati­on, Enterprise Florida. It helped the companies design their booths and offered them grant money for the space.

This time, Georgia, Missouri, Virginia, New Hampshire and Washington joined Florida with their own pavilions.

Kallman Worldwide, which organizes US pavilions at exhibition­s around the world, helped 95 US exhibitors take part in this year’s airshow, with pavilion space doubling in size from the last show.

“State government­s are realizing if we can help these guys out through a small amount, then they’re going to go overseas and make a lot more money and that means jobs and that means revenue for the state,” said Thomas Kallman, the company’s president and CEO.

Maria Badillo and her husband Frank Benzaria paid just $1,500 for space in a booth because of grant money from Virginia. Their Sterling, Virginia-based company, Defense Technology Equipment, has a few clients in the Middle East, and they say they learned about eight more potential clients simply by networking at the show.

Despite an expanded state presence, dozens of small and medium-sized businesses at the show did not have external support. Fastening Systems Internatio­nal of Sonoma, California, paid more than $10,000 for pavilion space.

 ??  ?? Emiratis visit the US Pavilion during the third day of the Dubai Airshow in Dubai, UAE. (AP)
Emiratis visit the US Pavilion during the third day of the Dubai Airshow in Dubai, UAE. (AP)

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