(MENAFN - Arab News) The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) announces its sponsorship of the third biannual Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS), which is being held at the Sakhir Air Base in Bahrain, from Feb. 16 to 18.
The event, organized by the Ministry of Transportation and Royal Bahrain Air Force under supervision of the Shaikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, King's personal representative and head of the supreme organizing committee of BIAS, is set to be the biggest yet, offering a combination of exclusive networking and investment opportunities for global and regional businesses and exciting sights for families and aviation enthusiasts.
Commenting ahead of the event, Kamal bin Ahmed, minister of transportation and acting chief executive of the Bahrain EDB, said: "The Bahrain International Airshow is one of the most important events in the Kingdom's calendar that reflects Bahrain's position as a leading business and financial hub at the heart of the Gulf."
He added: "International investors looking to access the 1.5 trillion Gulf market are looking for a location that provides excellent connectivity across the region. This event provides an opportunity to showcase Bahrain's unparalleled regional connectivity by road, sea, and air. It also enables us to welcome leading transport and logistics businesses to Bahrain - sectors that have seen rapid expansion in recent years."
Among the high level industry participants confirmed to attend BIAS are leading manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky Aircraft. Other international companies participating include Qatar Airways, BAE Systems, Thales Group, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft from Russia, France's Morpho (Safron), Lufthansa Technic from Germany, India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Tawazun Holding from Abu Dhabi, TAG Aeronautics, and Saudi Airlines from Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain is widely regarded as the historical center of aviation in the Gulf. The Kingdom launched the region's first international carrier, Gulf Air, and was the first to open an international airport.
In 2012, 8.5 million passengers traveled through Bahrain International Airport, 8.8 percent more than in 2011, with this number set to rise substantially following planned airport modernization projects. Together with the Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) and Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ), Bahrain offers investors the shortest travel time between seaport, airport and logistics processing zones anywhere in the Gulf.
The transport and communications sector has been among the most dynamic ones of the Bahraini economy with an annual growth rate of 9.8 percent in 2000-2012. Overall, the Bahraini economy is set to come in at close to 5 percent in 2013, increasing from 3.4 percent in 2012.