The U.S. Congress would have a say in White House plans to open customs pre-clearance facilities in foreign countries under legislation a House committee passed on June 11. Airline industry groups, which last year opposed but failed to prevent the opening of such a facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, appear to have accepted the legislation even as news surfaced of U.S. plans to open a pre-clearance facility in Dubai.
Thailand’s air transport market continues to suffer from mounting political turmoil in the capital city Bangkok. Widely known as “Shutdown Bangkok,” anti-government protests have closed major road intersections throughout the city, including key routes to both Don Mueang International Airport and Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) has embarked on a second five-year plan this year to improve service and concentrate on new lines of business. It expects to be a leading player as the number of Middle East-based private aircraft grows to around 800 aircraft in 2020, CEO Faisal Kayal said.
In a Saudi press interview earlier this year, Kayal said SPA would focus on four areas: private aircraft leasing; management and operation; ground services and logistics; and maintenance. He added that it was putting the “final touches” to its new five-year plan.
One element of China’s current five-year plan is the improvement of the environment for general aviation, which includes business aircraft operations. New airports and infrastructure are being built, and more airspace is being made available for non-airline commercial and business operations. Many of the issues affecting this segment of the aviation industry will be addressed at the inaugural Open Skies Xian business and general aviation leaders forum to be held in September this year.
FlightSafety International continued its non-U.S. expansion in the helicopter training market, signing an agreement at EBACE on Wednesday with Infinity Support Services (ISS). The contract calls for FlightSafety to deliver a Level D flight simulation training device (FSTD) for the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter to the new ISS Aviation Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This will be FlightSafety’s first helicopter FSTD in the Middle East and follows recent announcements of S-92 devices for Stavanger, Norway and São Paulo, Brazil.
This year’s Middle East Business Aviation show, to be held at Dubai World Central December 8-10, is on course to be the biggest yet, reports the organizer, the Middle East Business Aircraft Association. MEBAA founding chairman Ali Ahmed Al Naqbi told AIN that bookings have already exceeded targets by nearly 20 percent and that more aircraft and helicopters are expected than at the previous five editions of the show. Sections launched in 2012 and devoted to business airports and aircraft interiors are expected to expand considerably.
Lebanon’s inability to appoint a fully fledged civil aviation authority has led to failures to pass ICAO audits, but has not raised safety concerns about airlines operating within the country, a senior Lebanese civil aviation official told AIN recently in Dubai.
Private charter operator Qatar Executive is set to open a new FBO at Doha’s Hamad International Airport shortly, having already moved its headquarters there. The company plans to strengthen its core Middle East, Far East and African markets next year, its new head, executive vice president David Edwards, told AIN.
Aircraft registrations in the Middle East business aviation market could grow to 1,300 units by the end of the decade, and business aviation in the Middle East is undergoing unprecedented changes, according to Thierry Boutsen, former Formula 1 race-car driver and founder of Monaco-based brokerage Boutsen Aviation.