Gama Aviation’s FBO at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) witnessed 70 percent growth in traffic during 2013. During the second quarter of this year, the company expects to complete development of new passenger and crew lounges. It is also set to double staffing levels at the facility by the end of May.
Emirates of the United Arab Emirates
In response to an increase in passenger traffic at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport, Jet Aviation has added services at its FBO. Now available are 96-hour visa facilities, oxygen and nitrogen, airside storage, improved catering options from local suppliers, 24/7 limousine service using 7-series BMWs and airside transportation from a fleet of new buses. The FBO, Jet Aviation’s second in Dubai, opened a year ago and features two customer lounges in the VIP section of the passenger terminal.
Jet Aviation appointed Hardy Bütschi as vice president and general manager of Jet Aviation’s facilities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, effective in January. In his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing the company’s maintenance and FBO operations at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport, as well as at Al Bateen Executive Airport in nearby Abu Dhabi. Previously, Bütschi oversaw the company’s operations in Saudi Arabia as vice president of Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia.
With eight civil airports boasting IATA designations, it’s reasonable to ask why there are so many facilities in a country the size of the UAE. Partly, this is because five of the seven emirates Abu Dhabi (3), Dubai (2), Fujairah (1), Ras al-Khaimah (1) and Sarjah (1) have the demand. The other two–Ajman, at 259 sq km the smallest, and Umm al-Quwain, the least populous–do not.
Business aviation is set to make a strong showing next week at the Dubai Airshow, with the sector expected to account for about one-third of the 150 aircraft on static display and approximately 220 of the more than 1,000 exhibiting companies. In addition to the airframers, business aviation service providers such as Jet Aviation, ExecuJet Aviation, Royal Jet and Jetex are exhibiting at the event, which opens on Sunday.
The Middle East presents plenty of opportunity for business aviation growth, and at last month’s Abu Dhabi Air Expo businesses reported that their investment in the region–and beyond–is paying dividends.
Gama Group, the fast-growing business aviation services group, is quickly settling into its new base at Sharjah International Airport. The Farnborough, UK-based company is finding that customers now recognize the limitations of Dubai International Airport, which has become increasingly busy with airline traffic, making it hard for business aircraft operators to get convenient slots–especially at short notice. Meanwhile, Gama’s move into Saudi Arabia with new FBOs planned in Jeddah and Riyadh are coming together fast.
Royal Jet, the commercial private jet concern owned by the UAE’s Presidential Flight Authority and Abu Dhabi Aviation, is planning a major fleet expansion in 2013, the year of its 10th anniversary. A defection by the nine-jet company away from Boeing, given that Royal Jet owns the world’s largest Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) fleet–six aircraft–would be a major blow for the U.S. manufacturer.
Fujairah’s business has traditionally been in cement and mining, but ship bunkering has developed into a major industry, general shipping is thriving at Fujairah and Khorfakkan ports, and plans are in full swing to build an oil refinery, increase tank-farm storage facilities and develop tourism and real estate.
- Page 1