The 2010 World Cup is a massive opportunity for South Africa to shine on the world stage, and the same can be said of ExecuJet Aviation (Booth No. 242). For months, the company has been preparing for its central role in welcoming business aircraft passengers and crews, taking a proactive approach to anticipating their every need.
As of mid-March, at least 100 aircraft had booked to arrive at the company’s Lanseria FBO during the tournament, and another 50 at its Cape Town facility. ExecuJet Aviation South Africa managing director Ettore Poggi is expecting many more to knock on his door in the next few weeks. To date, most of the early bookings have come from the U.S., South America and Europe, he said.
Poggi confirmed that aircraft slots and parking are the two biggest potential headaches for operators. “The danger is that you won’t get the slot you want or that you may get one that is inconvenient for your passengers,” he told AIN.
South African airports are planning to maximize parking space by using every available piece of ramp, but Poggi warned that it will almost certainly be necessary to reposition aircraft.
With the exception of Signature Flight Support (Booth No. 7070) in Cape Town, ExecuJet operates the only “real” FBOs in the country. It is preparing to send its staff to assist customers at the various South African airports and will be relocating ground-support equipment where necessary and partnering with airline handlers such as Menzies. Poggi said all the World Cup venues are close to a regional airport that can accept almost any size of aircraft, apart from an Airbus A380. So far, scheduled airlines have not planned many additional flights, so the squeeze on business aviation from that quadrant may not be as serious as it has been at previous World Cup tournaments.
In addition to prebooking hotel rooms, rental cars and limousine service at preferential rates, ExecuJet has been putting together packages to cover more than just the World Cup, with options such as safari tours, hunting and golf outings. It will have hairdressing service available at its FBOs and large TV screens for flight crews to watch the games.
On a more practical level, ExecuJet has made special arrangements to provide additional engineering support to operators of Gulfstream, Bombardier and Dassault aircraft. Those manufacturers will be sending engineers and additional spares to South Africa for the tournament.