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.
Zurich-based ExecuJet Aviation is to set up a new charter and aircraft management operation in Qatar in a bid to expand its footprint in the growing Middle Eastern market. Yesterday, the company sealed an agreement with Doha-based Al-Faisal Holdings, which will be its local partner in the new venture.
Rizon Jet’s two FBOs at London Biggin Hill and Doha, Qatar, are set to open in July. Both facilities are similar in size and design, although the Qatar facility includes separate prayer rooms for male and female passengers.
The Harrods Aviation FBOs at London Luton and Stansted airports, as well as helicopter charter operator Air Harrods, have been sold as part of a $2.2 billion transaction that saw Qatar Holdings acquire the Harrods retail group from Mohammed al-Fayed last month.
Rizon Jet is in the final stages of construction for two new FBOs in Europe and the Middle East. In July, it expects to open almost identical hangars with adjoining lounges and offices at London Biggin Hill Airport and at its Doha headquarters in Qatar.
Alongside ostentatious neighbors like the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain has tended to get overlooked as a Middle Eastern hub for air transportation. Yet, the island kingdom in the Arabian Gulf actually lays a fair claim to being the birthplace of aviation in the Middle East. Next month (January 21 to 23) it intends to point the world to its aviation future when it hosts its own airshow for the first time.
Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways expects to make a profit this year, even though it reported a $7.6 million first-half loss. “We are going to be profitable for the full year,” said chief executive Stefan Pichler, who joined the airline in June from a position as chief commercial officer at Virgin Blue. The low-cost carrier plans to open a second hub in 2010, having dropped routes to Beirut, Delhi, Mumbai, Salalah and Sanaa this year.
In mid-2009, Qatar Airways received two 4,000-nmi-range Bombardier Challenger 605s and a Challenger 300 for new charter subsidiary Qatar Executive. The airline wants a piece of what it believes is still rising demand for on-demand, private charter services.
Qatar Airways (Stand C130) is again at the Dubai Airshow on Emirates Airlines’ home turf evidently to remind its rival that it can’t have this prosperous territory all to itself. Along with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, the Doha-based carrier has adopted a very high profile as it seeks to take a share of the market to provide long-haul connecting service through its Gulf hub.
Patrick Enz has joined Rizon Jet as group CEO, replacing Will Curtis, who