Universal opens Sydney exec handling operation
Universal Weather & Aviation has opened an executive aircraft handling operation at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport. It represents the company’s first permanent presence in Australia and will supplement more than a dozen UVglobal Network handling operations around the Pacific Rim.
The new facility is located within the Kingsford Smith premises of executive aircraft charter and management firm ExecuJet Australia at the airport’s Ramp 394 location. It offers passenger and pilot lounges, extensive aircraft parking space and hangar accommodation.
ExecuJet Australia, which is part of the South African ExecuJet group, will provide maintenance support to Universal customers. Its Sydney center is an approved warranty repair station for both Bombardier and Gulfstream business aircraft.
Universal enjoys an effective monopoly on executive ground handling at Sydney’s main airport, since the Qantas Executive FBO was scheduled to have shut its doors on the last day of 2002. The Australian flag carrier decided the operation no longer had a place among its core businesses. ExecuJet has been providing some handling at Kingsford Smith, but wants to focus on its other activities.
According to Jonathan Howells, Universal’s head of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Australasia, Kingsford Smith currently logs 2,500 business aviation movements annually.
According to the latest editions of Buchair’s Bizjet and Biz Turboprop annual business aircraft directories, there are currently 74 busi- ness jets and 175 turboprops in corporate service in Australia.
The UVglobal Network consists of 39 operations around the world. These facilities are a mix of Univer- sal-owned subsidiaries, including the new Sydney base, and independent partners.