Touching Bases: Kuwait FBO open for business

 - June 9, 2008, 9:06 AM

Since December, business aircraft have been able to park at the new Royal Terminal at Kuwait International Airport, and the facility opened for passenger services in April. The new $42 million FBO is owned by Royal Aviation Kuwait and is managed by Mercury Air Group. Plans call for Royal Terminal’s grand opening to be held this month.

Jet Aviation was originally going to manage the Kuwait FBO, but the project has grown since Jet Aviation dropped out of the running last March. The original plans called for only a corporate aviation terminal, according to Mercury Air Group vice president John Enticknap, but the design grew into “a small airline terminal,” he said. Half of the terminal is focused on general aviation operations and the other half on charters. Mercury’s management contract covers running the entire facility, and there is a separate contract/joint-venture agreement with the FBO’s owners to provide ground handling services on the ramp. Although a different company provides the fuel, customers deal only with Royal Terminal for all services and billing. “It’s different from traditional European and Middle East FBOs,” Enticknap said.

Amenities at Royal Terminal include all the normal attributes such as wireless Internet, passenger and pilot lounges, crew rest rooms, catering and rental cars, as well as traditional Arabian coffee, tea and confections, immigration and customs, landing and overflight permits, cargo handling, shopping and fine dining. To protect aircraft and passengers from the hot Arabian sun during the long summer months, Royal Terminal features two shade ports/canopies large enough to fit eight Boeing 737/Airbus A320-size airplanes. Mercury has been invited to bid on FBO operations at other airport projects in the region, Enticknap said. “Now that we have a large presence in the Middle East, we’re well known and looking to expand in that part of the world.”