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DUBAI: Hawker Beechcraft targets Middle Eastern growth

Hawker Beechcraft is confident of maintaining its strong standing in the Middle East, despite the short-term effects of the political instability felt in some nations in and around the region since early this year.

"It's definitely a growth market for us," said Sean McGeough, Hawker Beechcraft's president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Regional interest remains high across the company's product range, which runs from top-of-the-range business jets to surveillance aircraft and trainers.

"The Arab Spring provides an opportunity for us," said McGeough, who noted that Middle Eastern customers already accounted for 22% of his business unit's total deliveries last year.

Among the products on display this week are the Hawker 4000 and 900XP, T-6C military trainer and an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) demonstrator version of the King Air 350ER.

On show for users potentially interested in conducting missions including troop transport, ISR activities or air ambulance duties, the aircraft has been in high demand since its emergence early this year. "We've visited 30 cities in 14 countries on three continents, and haven't missed a sortie for maintenance reasons," said Jay Gibson, vice-president special missions. "We're seeing a great deal of interest."