Middle Eastern charter and scheduled service operator Rotana Jet plans to more than double its fleet by 2016. Speaking today at the Air Expo show at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport, where Rotana Jet is based, the company said that over the next two years it will add at least seven more aircraft to the five it currently operates.
United Arab Emirates
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.
The third annual Abu Dhabi Air Expo opens at Al Bateen Executive Airport on Tuesday. The three-day event (February 25-27), which has become a prominent fixture of the Arabian Gulf general aviation sector, will feature more than 100 aircraft. Around 13,000 visitors are expected by the 170 exhibiting companies.
Airline industry groups complained that the omnibus appropriations bill that observers expect the U.S. Congress will pass this week does not prevent the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency from opening a controversial customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
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.
Abu Dhabi’s first airport–back in the 1930s–was at Al Bateen, now the site of Al Bateen Executive Airport. With a long, single runway the airport came into military use when the new Abu Dhabi International Airport opened in 1982 and only in recent years has this role started to give way to business aviation, which can benefit greatly from the airport’s close proximity to the city center. In fact, with Abu Dhabi continuing full-steam ahead with a $500 billion diversification effort as part of its 2030 Plan, the future looks bright for Al Bateen.
The transfer of business aviation from Dubai International (DXB) to Dubai World Central (DWC) is picking up speed as business jet operators face a tightening squeeze at Dubai’s existing airport caused by dwindling slots and timing restrictions. Four charter operators have set up FBOs at DWC: Jet Aviation, Jetex, ExecuJet and DC Aviation-Al Futtaim. Dubai-based officials said 3,000 to 4,000 bizav aircraft movements would have to be transferred from DXB to DWC during the closure of DXB for runway rehabilitation, set to run for almost three months this year.
The Obama administration and the U.S. Congress appear headed to a confrontation over the administration’s plan to open a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport that many lawmakers and airline industry groups oppose. An opponent said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency plans to begin operating the facility on January 5.
The Middle East Business Aviation Association’s founding chairman, Ali Al Naqbi, is calling on UAE-based business aircraft operators to support the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority’s push to move business aviation operations from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Al Maktoum Airport/Dubai World Central (DWC). He cited slot shortages and timing restrictions that make life increasingly untenable at DXB, a situation that will be exacerbated in May when the airfield partially closes for a three-month-long runway rehabilitation project.
The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) plans to draft policies and procedures that will provide baseline regulations for business aviation in the UAE and Saudi Arabia at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference, which will be held in Dubai just before the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show from Dec. 8 to 10 next year. MEBAA founding chairman Ali Al Naqbi said the introduction of these policies and procedures had been on the association’s agenda for some time.