As India’s general aviation sector limps back to life after temporary stagnation, Middle East companies have been reaping the results of its tax-infused, straight-laced policy on maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).
The scheduled-airline vacuum at Dubai World Central’s new Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) has created an opportunity for business aviation operators hard pressed to obtain adequate slots at Dubai International Airport (DXB), according to Khalifa Al Zaffin, executive chairman of government-owned Dubai Aviation City Corp., whose main responsibility is construction at Dubai Aviation City.
Jet Aviation has been appointed as the dedicated ground handling service provider for MEBA 2012, which is taking place this week at Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport. As such, Jet Aviation is providing aircraft services and passenger assistance, including taxiing, handling, lavatory service, refueling, catering, customs support, service coordination and flight plan support for flight crews. The company is also operating two airport customer lounges during the show.
The Middle East market appears to be picking up as part of a gradual recovery from the downturn, but the turnaround is “generally slower than we would have liked,” according to Mike Berry managing director of ExecuJet Middle East.
Ali Al Naqbi has been at the heart of business aviation developments in the Middle East for more than a decade, playing a central role in the formation of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), of which he is chairman. This role followed three years as managing director of Abu Dhabi-based aircraft charter and management group Royal Jet. Previously, for almost 20 years, he had been with Abu Dhabi’s Amiri flight, from which Royal Jet was formed.
To answer increasing demand in the Far East and Indian subcontinent, Jet Aviation is implementing a major expansion of its Singapore MRO and FBO facility. Located at Seletar airport, Jet Aviation Singapore is tripling its hangar space to 7,500 sq m, while increasing exterior apron space to 9,300 sq m.
With FBOs in Dubai, Jeddah and Riyadh, and additional maintenance and management services at other locations, Jet Aviation (Stand 590) is one of the major business aviation players in the Middle East. The company has recently announced a number of developments for the region, including new capability for its Dubai-based MRO and FBO center.
That new capability comes in the form of FAA approval to perform base maintenance on the Bombardier Challenger 604 and 605, and light scheduled maintenance (A checks) on the Airbus single-aisle family (A318/319/320/321).
The Middle East remains the sales sweet-spot when it comes to regions that business jet manufacturers look to for customers despite its relatively small size and the rapid emergence of China, Brazil and other countries where momentum is building. This is true in particular of large cabin jets and corporate versions of airliners.
Marshall Aerospace is entering the pre-owned aircraft sales sector and expanding its executive charter division as part of a relaunch of its business aviation division. Under a new brand called Jetability, the Cambridge, UK-based group is also offering aircraft maintenance, ground handling and management, as well as concierge support and limousines.
Jet Aviation St. Louis plans to deliver its 200th green business aircraft completion next month. According to Jet Aviation, this will happen sooner than originally planned, thanks to continuous improvement initiatives that have increased the efficiency of the completions process and resulted in improved delivery times. Jet Aviation St. Louis has completed 197 aircraft to date since spooling up its completion business in earnest in 1997 with its first Challenger 601 completion. Its completions pace has accelerated in recent years, with 97 aircraft delivered since 2008.