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.
United Arab Emirates
Ghaith Al Ghaith, the CEO of Flydubai, Dubai’s low-cost carrier, has a reputation for being tight-lipped. Observers would be unwise to mistake this reticence for a lack of activity: Flydubai has been diligent in adding aircraft and routes ever since its first flight to Beirut in 2009 and, as of September, Dubai’s second airline, operated to 66 destinations, from Yekaterinburg in the north to the Maldives in the south, Belgrade in the west and Colombo in the east.
Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai’s second airport, originally planned to accommodate 160 million passengers when complete, will see its development speeded up dramatically if Dubai’s bid to host World Expo 2020 is successful.
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.
Switzerland-based Vertis Aviation will open a Dubai branch of its aviation charter business in January in the Free Zone at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport. Vertis aims to capitalize on the development of business aviation at the airport and build a broader customer network within the countries that form the Gulf Cooperation Council. The office will be run by Catherine Buchanan, who will be responsible for managing the development of the charter brokerage and strengthening the Vertis brand in the region.
Next week’s Dubai Airshow, running from November 17 to 21, is set to provide yet more evidence of the soaring ambitions of the Gulf region’s air carriers, and Boeing’s new 777X twinjet seems set to be the main beneficiary of their relentless fleet expansion plans.
DhabiJet–the FBO at Al Bateen Executive Airport, the only dedicated business aviation airport in the Middle East–has begun offering fueling services to all visiting aircraft at the Abu Dhabi, UAE airfield. It also plans to offer discounted fuel to attract technical stopovers and to encourage more airlines and private jets to use Al Bateen Executive Airport as their hub in the Middle East.
Dubai Airshow organizer F&E Aerospace is pressing the reset button on the biennial event, staging the Middle East’s premier aerospace and defense gathering at a new purpose-built site at Dubai World Central. The show is to be permanently based in the new Aviation City zone at DWC, which is a vast new economic development hub built around the new Al Maktoum International Airport near the Jebel Ali seaport.
Eight senior air force commanders from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East have agreed to speak at the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC), which immediately precedes the Dubai Air Show on November 16. They include the British and French air force commanders, and the commander of the USAF’s Central Command. Their decision to attend the conference and show may reflect a desire to reassure allies in the Gulf of their support, after recent disagreements over policy toward Egypt and Syria.
At the sixth Middle East Business Aviation meeting in Dubai, Dec. 8-10, 2014, prepare for some changes. The meeting is moving to a new home at Dubai World Central at Al Maktoum International Airport, located near Jebel Ali, Dubai, which is the same location as next month’s Dubai Airshow (November 17-19).