Last month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia invalidated Bell Helicopter’s claims against Iran for manufacturing and selling knock-offs of the JetRanger. Iran has been manufacturing a look-a-like helicopter without authorization since 2002 under various names. Federal Judge Judith Rogers ruled there was a “lack of evidence that Iran’s commercial activity caused a ‘direct effect’ in the United States.”
The U.S. Transportation Command (USTranscom) has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new contracts for companies providing helicopter support in Afghanistan. Recipients include AAR Airlift, $151 million; Columbia Helicopters, $87 million; Construction Helicopters, $33 million; and HNZ Group, $6 million.
September’s JetExpo show at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport once again provided a fascinating snapshot of how Russia’s business aviation market is continuing to develop. The overall impression from this eighth annual event is that, after a powerful growth surge, the market may be leveling off somewhat, but with every prospect of further expansion.
The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) plans to draft policies and procedures that will provide baseline regulations for business aviation in the UAE and Saudi Arabia at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference, which will be held in Dubai just before the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show from Dec. 8 to 10 next year. MEBAA founding chairman Ali Al Naqbi said the introduction of these policies and procedures had been on the association’s agenda for some time.
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.
Jetex Flight Support opened its FBO at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport last week in a temporary facility shared with Jet Aviation and ExecuJet. The company is offering a lounge, ground support, fueling, handling and security services. Other amenities include hotel accommodation, catering and limousine services, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi. Customs and immigration services are also available at the FBO.
According to aviation data research firm WingX Advance, there have been 139,966 business aviation movements at the top 22 airports in the Middle East so far this year, a 3-percent rise from the same period a year ago. WingX said the majority of departures from the region are headed to Europe.
King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah is the busiest of the 22 Middle Eastern airports, with 909 departures year-to-date, 62 percent of which are private flights, it said. Activity at Kuwait, which is one of the busiest charter departure points, is up 7 percent year-over-year.
The recently appointed head of Saudi Arabia-based luxury charter firm Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) said Middle East charter demand growth stood at 8 percent this year, exceeding the worldwide industry figure, but behind Russia, India and the Asia Pacific region.
Faisal G. Kayal, managing director of SPA, said the region is witnessing “strong economic growth.” Kayal replaced Wajdi Al Idrissi, the former head of the company, in May.
Airbus awards more work packages to Mubadala’s Strata
The UAE is in no immediate hurry to acquire a new fighter, although it is anxious to fully contribute to the security of the Gulf countries, according to Major General (ret.) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu-Ainnain, former commander of the UAE Air Force. Khaled told AIN here yesterday that, “it takes years to negotiate a new fighter contract.” His comments will dampen expectations of a near-term order or MoU for the Eurofighter Typhoon that have been raised by the British diplomatic and industrial offensive here this week.