For an airport, an annual throughput of 25 million passengers is enough to win respect, especially when it is the result of well-above-average, double-digit growth each year. Yet, in thriving Dubai, it seems that today’s figures are only young green shoots from which tomorrow’s branches will grow.
Airports, Heliports and FBOs
New developments at airports and heliports, including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, acquisitions and mergers of FBOs; AIN’s Annual FBO Survey Reports; and news, issues and concerns regarding fuel cards, fuel prices and alternative fuels.
Executive charter operator Cirrus Middle East has joined forces with flight planner Universal Weather & Aviation to open a new FBO at Lebanon’s Beirut International Airport. The partners are the first company to apply for Lebanon’s new general handling certificate. Trading under the name Universal Aviation Beirut, the FBO operates from the airport’s general aviation terminal.
Perhaps contrary to the impressions of outsiders, flying business aircraft into and within the Middle East is not difficult. At least that seems to be the consensus of those who arrange planning and handling for international flight operations in this part of the world.
According to Universal Weather, ground handling in the Middle East has improved, driven by increased traffic and expectations of higher levels of service. Dubai, which serves a higher volume of business aviation traffic than most other Middle East destinations, remains the standard bearer.
Nevertheless, flight handlers offer some warnings that may not seem instinctive to Western visitors:
Plenty of major players have voiced high expectations for the eventual flowering of business aviation in the Asia/Pacific region, but Jet Aviation is one of just a few that has put its money where its mouth is. The Swiss-based group established a bridgehead facility here in Singapore a decade ago, and has stayed the course despite receiving little encouragement from the marketplace–until recently.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) warned of a new requirement imposed by Alabama. The state has decided to apply to aviation facilities legal standards for self-serve auto fuel pumps. These standards include a requirement for all self-serve pumps to have visual indicators of quantity and cost and that all pumps reset to zero when finished pumping.
Two nonbinding referendums on opposite coasts of the U.S. allowed voters to register their opinions about airport projects, and both referendums failed to win approval. In Jacksonville, Fla. voters were asked to support a plan to return Cecil Field to the U.S. Navy, which gave most of the airport to the city in 1999.
The FAA is extending through Oct. 31, 2008, a flight-reduction program at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, including slot reservations for general aviation operations. Through several six-month extensions, the program has been in effect continuously since November 2004. The FAA said that the flight limits imposed since 2004 “have been effective” in easing congestion.
The proposed procedure for reimbursing FBOs, flight schools and other providers of general aviation ground-support services at five airports in the Washington, D.C. area for financial losses they incurred while the airports were closed after 9/11 is “a cumbersome government process” for small businesses and they will be “intimidated,” according to the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).
Long Island Jet Center sold its Farmingdale, N.Y. FBO to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based SheltAir Aviation Services and contracted with SheltAir to operate the company’s Islip, Long Island FBO under the SheltAir brand name. Under the agreement, which was scheduled to be finalized on December 1, SheltAir will also help manage Long Island Jet Center at Westhampton Beach, but that FBO won’t take on the SheltAir name.