Abu Dhabi’s first airport–back in the 1930s–was at Al Bateen, now the site of Al Bateen Executive Airport. With a long, single runway the airport came into military use when the new Abu Dhabi International Airport opened in 1982 and only in recent years has this role started to give way to business aviation, which can benefit greatly from the airport’s close proximity to the city center. In fact, with Abu Dhabi continuing full-steam ahead with a $500 billion diversification effort as part of its 2030 Plan, the future looks bright for Al Bateen.
Airports, Heliports and FBOs
New developments at airports and heliports, including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, acquisitions and mergers of FBOs; AIN’s Annual FBO Survey Reports; and news, issues and concerns regarding fuel cards, fuel prices and alternative fuels.
In response to high demand for exhibition space at the 25th anniversary edition of its annual Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference, to be held Jan. 14-17, 2014, in New Orleans, NBAA has contracted for additional hall space at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, enough to accommodate a record number of exhibiting companies. Last year’s show in San Antonio attracted 425 exhibitors, and so far nearly 500 have signed up for next month’s gathering, which highlights FBOs, fuel providers and airport services, according to NBAA.
FlightSafety International has partnered with Gulfstream to provide an online course for FBOs on the proper ground handling for the Savannah OEM’s large-cabin business jets. The course covers all facets of handling and servicing, such as towing, parking, fueling, aircraft safety walk-around, lavatory servicing, window cleaning and snow and ice removal. “This course, which has been updated to include the G650, is a thorough review of how to keep our business jets–and the people who service them–safe,” said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream product support.
Privately owned Ross Aviation has added a 17th location to its chain of service providers with the purchase of Chester County Aviation, the lone FBO at Philadelphia-area Chester County G.O. Carlson Airport. In keeping with the company’s philosophy, the facility will retain its current name and management. “We view this FBO as a strong growth opportunity due to airport and highway congestion, ground and air delays and the higher costs associated with operating at Philadelphia International Airport,” said company president and CEO Jeff Ross.
Though it has been in operation since March last year out of temporary offices, the Alpha Jet Center at Missouri’s Joplin Regional Airport has finally set up shop in its new facility. The FBO now occupies 5,000 sq ft in the refurbished building that was once the airport’s commercial terminal. The Avfuel-branded dealer is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (with after-hours callout available) and says it specializes in quick turns.
Landmark Aviation has broken ground on its new FBO at San Diego International Airport. The 12.4-acre FBO campus will feature a 20,000-sq-ft terminal and five hangars, along with 250,000 sq ft of ramp space. The facility will be built to achieve Leed Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. “This groundbreaking officially kicks off the much anticipated FBO campus development that we have all been working so hard toward,” said Landmark president and CEO Dan Bucaro.
Houston-based Million Air has added the first Florida FBO to its network with the recent purchase of Avion Jet Center at Orlando Sanford International Airport. The service provider is set to embark on a $3.5 million renovation of the facility, with work starting on the 10,000-sq-ft hangar at the beginning of the year. The location also features a 7,000-sq-ft terminal, which will soon provide all the usual Million Air amenities, including a theater room and soda bar.
Atlantic Aviation negotiated a deal to purchase Hangar Ten Aviation Services, one of two turbine aircraft service providers at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC) in Kansas City. The three-year-old facility stands on 10 acres and features a 26,000-sq-ft terminal with a crew lounge and fitness center among its amenities. The FBO also features a 29,000-sq-ft hangar and an in-house catering kitchen. “Hangar Ten realized that to provide even better service to our customers around the country, we needed to be a part of a something bigger,” said company chairman and CEO Jim Stowers.
BBA Aviation subsidiary Signature Flight Support’s new FBO at Newark International Airport (EWR) opened last month, after an 18-month construction project. The $11 million facility occupies approximately 11 acres at the airport. It features a 39,000-sq-ft hangar and an 11,200-sq-ft terminal serving as the prototype for Signature’s newly designed interior traffic flow pattern. Built to Leed Gold standard, the terminal provides three lounges, including a separate VIP area.
Signature Flight Support has signed a deal with Imperial Oil of Canada that could see the service provider chain add as many as 38 FBOs to its network. The agreement offers all Canadian Esso-branded FBOs the option to become members of the Signature network or to join the service provider’s Signature Select affiliate program. As part of the agreement, Imperial Oil will continue to be the fuel provider and the locations will continue to carry their Esso fuel branding, in addition to any possible Signature badges.