Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport (Stand 1943) is fast gaining traction as the Middle East’s first and only dedicated business aviation gateway. The former military air base has been reinvented as a business aviation service hub, along the lines airports such as the London-area Farnborough and Biggin Hill, and Le Bourget in Paris.
Abu Dhabi’s emergence as a leading business aviation hub in the Arabian Gulf was further enhanced by the March staging of the inaugural Air Expo. The event, held at the Al Bateen Executive Airport nine months before rival Dubai’s Middle East Business Aviation show, attracted a reported 10,700 visitors and 105 exhibitors.
Boeing has expanded its supplier base into the Middle East by awarding a 10-year contract to Strata Manufacturing, the Al Ain-based subsidiary of Mubadala Aerospace in the United Arab Emirates. The deal, announced at the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi on April 17, covers empennage ribs for the 777 twinjet and vertical fin ribs for the 787.
Royal Jet president and CEO Shane O’Hare is predicting that the Middle East market for private jet travel could grow at 6 to 8 percent this year and next, with Royal Jet itself forecasting 15-percent growth this year. He also said the growth of the private jet market could spawn the development of global alliances among operators, along similar lines to those in the airline sector. The Abu Dhabi-based flight services company reported a 15-percent increase in first-quarter revenue from a year ago.
The medevac unit of Abu Dhabi’s Royal Jet evacuated 31 Chinese workers injured in explosions in the Republic of Congo on March 10, transporting them on a Boeing Business Jet from Maya Maya Airport in Brazzaville, Congo’s capital, to Beijing, China, in 16 hours following a brief stop i
While the inaugural three-day Abu Dhabi Air Expo held last week at Al Bateen Executive Airport attracted almost 100 exhibitors and approximately 7,500 visitors, the airport itself was the star of the show. Opened in the 1960s, Al Bateen is minutes from Abu Dhabi’s prime locations and lies on the city’s main island. In 2008, airport manager Abu Dhabi Airports converted it into a facility for business jet operators. Established VIP players Al Jaber Aviation and Prestige Jet and charter operator Falcon Aviation Services are its major users.
Regional airline service has been slow to take root in the Middle East, and especially at the entry-level turboprop end of the market. But now, a start-up operator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing to launch a feeder service to the region’s aspiring hubs in Abu Dhabi and Doha, giving locals the chance to bypass crowded Dubai.
Based in Fujairah, UAE, Eastern Express plans to ferry business passengers into Abu Dhabi and Doha to connect with growing Gulf-based international passenger networks starting during this year’s first quarter.
Abu Dhabi-based Strata Manufacturing, a composite aerostructures company, recently graduated 62 Emirati nationals–60 women and two men–from an intensive 10-month course that provides the students with the core competencies needed to become composite aircraft technicians. The course forms part of a longer 22-month program of study that includes on-the-job training at Strata, Mubadala Aerospace’s advanced composite aerostructures plant in Al Ain.
Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) of Abu Dhabi, which recently announced plans to increase its capacity to meet rising demand for MRO services for executive aircraft, has become an official “gold sponsor” of the First Abu Dhabi Air Expo, to be held March 6 to 8 at Al Bateen Executive Airport. Organizers expect more than 10,000 visitors at the show. At its Al Bateen location, FAS recently opened a new maintenance hangar to provide MRO services for not only business aviation but also for the UAW’s military air wing as well.
As part of its planned expansion in Europe, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways intends to increase its ownership stake in Air Berlin to 29 percent, a move that would make it the largest single shareholder in Germany’s second largest airline.