Riyadh International Airport’s private aviation terminal, which houses FBO facilities for several players under one roof, is a “disaster,” a senior Saudi aviation official told AIN today at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference in Riyadh.
The need for better regulation and firmer action to stem the tide of the so-called gray market in illegal charter flights will top the agenda at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference (MEBAC), which will be held in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, on April 10. The event is organized by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), which is taking the lead in pushing for firmer legal foundations to support the region’s fast-growing industry.
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 Middle East Business Aviation Association plans to hold frequent regional conferences to stay attuned to its members. Its Middle East Business Aviation Conferences (MEBAC) will be held about four times a year in different countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The inaugural MEBAC will be held on June 4 at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Follow-on regional conferences will be held in Morocco on October 8, Dubai on November 17 and Bahrain on January 15.
Sudden sandstorms in the Middle East’s deserts are just one of the problems complicating the task of the region’s maintenance providers. At the recent MRO Middle East conference in Dubai, delegates heard that airlines often need to delay or even cancel departures on short notice due to unforeseen maintenance needs caused by sand and dust. Engines, bleed-air systems and air-conditioning packs are especially vulnerable to the region’s hot and unpredictable conditions.
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA), the business jet arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines, is seeing increased interest from businesses in the Kingdom in acquiring new aircraft, as it prepared to open the largest FBO in the country, at Jeddah.
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA), the business jet arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines, is seeing increased interest from businesses in the Kingdom in acquiring new aircraft, as it prepared to open the country’s largest FBO in Jeddah. “SPA’s operations will grow 100 percent year-on-year this year,” said SPA CEO Wajdi Al Idrissi. “The government is spending the money and there is no decline in growth. In Saudi Arabia, private aviation is growing at 15 to 20 percent a year.”
Some of the places in the world where business aviation is needed most are by their very nature some of the hardest places to provide and support this mode of transportation. It is a core paradox of the industry’s emerging markets, as frustrated service providers will attest.
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) plans to open business-jet FBOs at Saudi Arabia’s four main airports–Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Medina–within a year, according to company managing director Wajdi Al Idrissi. The facility at SPA’s Jeddah home base is expected to open next month.
ExecuJet Aviation has been in the Middle East for the long haul since 1999 and since then it has seen the bizav market fluctuate from boom to flat and now reach a slow climb. It has seen rivals come and go, and ambitious business plans turn to dust.
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