Middle East FBO activity is accelerating, with a United Arab Emirates company planning to build an FBO at the new Al Maktoum International Airport and an Abu Dhabi company announcing plans to convert a former military airport into the region’s first dedicated executive airport.
Dubai International Airport
TAG Aviation is working hard to provide European business aviation with a resource it desperately needs–an airport to call its own. Even before construction work began this summer, the group made a substantial investment in an exhaustive lobbying effort to redevelop Britain’s Farnborough airfield as a dedicated business aviation airport.
The Dubai Air Show, held November 4 to 8, demonstrated an abundance of business-as-usual spirit when it opened its doors in the face of a worldwide security crisis and the intensifying war in Afghanistan just 500 mi away to the northeast.
In June, pilots will be able to use a new business aviation terminal at Oxford Airport in the UK, the first phase of planned improvements by Reuben Brothers Holdings, which bought the airport from BBA Aviation last July. The new FBO terminal features separate lounges for pilots and passengers, rest areas, showers, a crew kitchen, bar, conference rooms and customs and immigration facilities.
London-area Oxford Airport recently started work on a new business aviation terminal, the first phase of a major investment by the airport’s new owners, Reuben Brothers, since purchasing it last summer from BBA Aviation. The new facility will triple the space of the existing GA terminal and is scheduled for completion in June.
Rapid economic growth in the United Arab Emirates is fueling the expansion of Dubai-based helicopter operator Helidubai. Less than two years after its inception, the company, owned by the government of Dubai, has embarked on a fleet expansion with both passenger and aerial-work aircraft. In addition, it is also striving to help create dedicated heliports and helipads in the burgeoning city.
Jet Aviation announced last month it has begun construction of its new FBO and maintenance facility at the Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates. Expected to be operational in January, the new facility will offer scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, aircraft modifications and avionics installations and retrofits for a range of business aircraft.
Anyone with even a superficial knowledge of the stratospheric ambitions of the Middle East air transport sector generally, and mind-boggling wealth of the Arabian Gulf states in particular, had expected the 2007 Dubai Airshow to be an epic event. But it is doubtful that anyone outside the top tiers of the region’s airline managements really anticipated the volume of business announced over just five days (November 11 to 15).
Two years after 9/11, Dubai’s biennial air show will declare itself to be firmly back to business as usual when it opens next month (December 7 to 11) in the United Arab Emirates. Last time, the event convincingly put on a brave face in the wake of 9/11 and the U.S.-led war against Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan (just 500 miles north).
UAE-based Gulf Aerospace Company (Gaco) signed a MoU yesterday with Dubai World Central (DWC) to build a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in DWC’s Aviation City. Gaco is investing $50 million and leasing 260,000 square feet of land. It will thus form part of what Aviation City CEO Abdulla Al Qurashi has pledged to become the world’s largest MRO center.