Universal opens Beirut handling base

 - January 31, 2007, 9:29 AM

Universal Weather & Aviation is to open a business aircraft handling operation at Beirut International Airport in Lebanon. The facility will be run as a joint venture with local company Cirrus Middle East and will eventually trade under the name Universal Aviation Beirut.

From April 4, the partners will provide handling for all business aircraft up to widebody size. Initially, this will be done through Beirut’s main passenger terminal, but the operation is set to move to a new purpose-built general aviation terminal “within the next few months.”

“Strategically, we chose Beirut for its thriving commerce and continued growth,” commented Jonathan Howells, Universal’s regional director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “It is an excellent location from which to support our many clients who operate within the region to Beirut whether for business or pleasure,” he concluded.

Cirrus Middle East is part of Germany’s Cirrus Aviation group, which is active in the executive charter market and a partner in Bombardier’s Skyjet International network. Cirrus has positioned one of its aircraft in Beirut to support the expansion of Skyjet into the Middle East.

According to Cirrus Middle East chairman and CEO Abed El-Jaouni, Beirut is expecting an influx of business aviation traffic in the coming months. He said that the new handling operation will offer previously unknown standards of service for passengers and crew in Beirut.