This article contains additional information from the story first published on February 24.
The third annual Abu Dhabi Air Expo opens at Al Bateen Executive Airport on Tuesday. The three-day event (February 25-27), which has become a prominent fixture of the Arabian Gulf general aviation sector, will feature more than 100 aircraft. Around 13,000 visitors are expected by the 170 exhibiting companies.
Abu Dhabi state-owned carrier Etihad Airways announced a code-share agreement with JetBlue Airways on January 22 that would extend its reach into the U.S. market if the Department of Transportation (DOT) approves. A week earlier, Etihad said that it will double its flights between Abu Dhabi and New York City by introducing a second daily service.
Airline industry groups complained that the omnibus appropriations bill that observers expect the U.S. Congress will pass this week does not prevent the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency from opening a controversial customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
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.
The Obama administration and the U.S. Congress appear headed to a confrontation over the administration’s plan to open a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport that many lawmakers and airline industry groups oppose. An opponent said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency plans to begin operating the facility on January 5.
This week’s Dubai Airshow was the first time that a UAE Air Tractor AT-802i has been shown in public. The UAE purchased 24 of these highly modified agricultural aircraft, and took delivery of the first in late 2010. Media reports suggest that six of the aircraft are being donated to Jordan but probably with armament capability removed.
Jet Aviation appointed Hardy Bütschi as vice president and general manager of Jet Aviation’s facilities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, effective in January. In his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing the company’s maintenance and FBO operations at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport, as well as at Al Bateen Executive Airport in nearby Abu Dhabi. Previously, Bütschi oversaw the company’s operations in Saudi Arabia as vice president of Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia.
Airbus awards more work packages to Mubadala’s Strata
Although it made its debut at the IDEX show earlier this year, the Aerostat-200 from Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (Adasi) is being shown in its full inflated glory for the first time in public at the Dubai Airshow. The 200-cubic meter aerostat, which began operations this year, can carry a payload such as an EO/IR sensor up to more than 500 feet to provide non-stop surveillance. Adasi will soon introduce the more voluminous Aerostat-500, followed by the even larger Aerostat-900 with a 3,500-foot altitude capability.