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.
United Arab Emirates
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.
This week’s Dubai Airshow was the first time that a UAE Air Tractor AT-802i has been shown in public. The UAE purchased 24 of these highly modified agricultural aircraft, and took delivery of the first in late 2010. Media reports suggest that six of the aircraft are being donated to Jordan but probably with armament capability removed.
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.