In its effort to catch up with fast-growing neighbor Dubai as an aerospace hub, Abu Dhabi companies announced several key developments here at the Farnborough show yesterday. The deals will launch tier one aerospace manufacturing in the Arabian Gulf, and significantly expand local maintenance, repair and overhaul capability.
Abu Dhabi-based operator Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) has inked the first firm order for the “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès” version of the Eurocopter EC 135 light twin. The ?5.8 million ($9 million) helicopter features an exclusive cabin layout with the signature French firm’s canvas used to cover surfaces from floor to ceiling.
XOJet, the San Carlos, Calif.-based on-demand charter company with a fleet of Cessna Citation Xs, said today at EBACE that it has secured $2.46 billion in financing to fund a plan to expand further both in North America and internationally.
Prestige Jet of Abu Dhabi signed a letter of intent at EBACE for the purchase of five Gulfstream G650 long-range executive jets to be delivered in 2012. The Middle East company founded in 2007 aims to build up its own mixed fleet of aircraft in response to variable needs of its customers, while its sister company Prestige Air Charter is offering ad hoc charter brokerage throughout the region.
United Arab Emirates-based Prestige Jet has signed an agreement to provide EMS flights for Flight Ambulance International (FAI). The company will operate a fleet of Bombardier Learjet 55s from bases in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. FAI is based in Nuremberg, Germany, and provides evacuation flights out of Africa. The Middle East is a growing part of its business, already accounting for 8 percent of operations.
Abu Dhabi-based Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) last month gave an update on its fleet expansion. A second Eurocopter EC 130B4 will be delivered in April, with a third to follow in July. Two AS 365N3 Dauphins are pegged for delivery in January and October. A second AgustaWestland Grand will be introduced in July. In addition, a Bell 206L3 LongRanger will join the fleet under a two-year lease agreement.
Saraya Aviation, a startup charter operator formed earlier this year in Abu Dhabi to serve the growing number of executive and government VIP customers seeking private travel in the Middle East, signed an order here yesterday for three Gulfstream G450s.
Embraer here on Monday announced an order for five Lineage 1000 and two Legacy 600 business jets from Al Jaber Aviation, a new branch in the Abu Dhabi-based diversified group. The aircraft will be used for on-demand executive charter service. Embraer expects to deliver the first Legacy in February 2009 and the first Lineage in May 2010.
Abu Dhabi’s Prestige Jet (Stand E322), a year-old business aircraft charter and management service, sees growth in the private air travel market fueling its need for more aircraft.
Currently using Bombardier Challenger 601/604 and Gulfstream III large business jets, the company has two Grob SPn light business jets on order for delivery next year, and may announce more orders here at the Dubai Air Show.
Mubadala Development Company has changed the name of its Gulf Aircraft Maintenance (GAMCO) subsidiary to Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies. The Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala (Stand W300) aims to grow its annual revenue from a current $300 million to $800 million by 2012.