The latest edition of the Middle East Business Aviation (Meba) show provided a vivid snapshot of the region’s business aviation industry. There is still tangible growth coming through, albeit at a markedly slower rate than had been seen before the global financial crisis washed up on some parts of the Arabian Gulf’s shores.
Dubai International Airport
London Biggin Hill Airport has a new managing director and she comes from Dubai. From March 1, Jenny Munro will takeover from Peter Lonergan, who is retiring after 16 years in the job.
Fujairah International Airport, here at the MEBA show for the first time (Booth No. C740), is touting the benefits business aircraft operators can find at a site that is far less crowded than Dubai International Airport. Fujairah has a new FBO and, from 2011, a new highway in and out of the emirate will shorten the 48-mile drive to the center of Dubai to about an hour.
The inauguration in June of Dubai World Central's Al Maktoum International Airport marked the completion of the project's Phase 1 and another significant milestone in Dubai's pursuit of air transport preeminence.
The fourth Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show is off to a strong start, with exhibitor numbers climbing more than 40 percent from 2008 and registered visitors topping the 7,000 mark, up from 5,500. But this could be the show's last staging here in Dubai for the time being, with plans being made to relocate the event to another prime location in the Arabian Gulf.
This AIN editor had an opportunity to tour Emirates/CAE Flight Training Center in Dubai. I was quickly impressed not simply with the size of the center, but also the pristine nature of the entire facility, a location that appears to have thought of almost every possible customer comfort, from snacks and drinks for crewmembers, no matter when their classes might operate, to limousine services to carry customers to and from their hotels.
The UK's Oxford Airport wants to make NBAA show goers an offer they'll find hard to refuse. First-time North American aircraft arriving there from a trans-Atlantic flight through the end of April 2011 will find just about everything they need from the airport priced at just $150 per item.
After a successful opening of a luxury FBO at Paris Le Bourget Airport as the first step in its international expansion plans, JetEx Flight Support has established a second site in Europe with a facility at Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine. In addition to further FBOs planned in Ukraine, the company, which is headquartered at Dubai International Airport, plans to open a facility in that country next year.
Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport will commission its new instrument landing system and GNSS/VOR/DME-based precision approach this month, ending its VFR-only limitation. The former military air base now lays claim to being the Middle East’s only dedicated business aviation airport and further redevelopment is planned as it prepares to double its annual movements to more than 12,000 by 2014.
Cargo traffic began operations at Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport in late June, marking the opening of Dubai’s second airport. Operations
at the airport, which planners say will eventually become the world’s largest,
will initially be confined to cargo hauling.
Passenger traffic, for which the airport has an initial capacity of five million people a year, will begin next March.