Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport has further boosted its credentials as the Middle East’s leading business aviation hub by establishing its own branded FBO and opening the provision of maintenance, repair and overhaul services to an independent provider.
DhabiJet is the name of the FBO that airport owner Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has created to provide full-service handling and support for visiting and based business aircraft operators and their passengers. Work has already begun to set up a comprehensive operations center, as well as a crew facility with a lounge and showers, as part of the former military airbase’s existing executive terminal.
In charge of delivering the elevated level of service to which Al Bateen aspires is senior FBO manager Pauline Smith, who has been recruited from the London-area Harrods Aviation group. She reports to general manager Steve Jones, who formerly ran the UK’s Oxford Airport.
Over the past three years, ADAC has spent $50 million to establish Al Bateen as an operational civil airport. The airport’s vice president, Mohammed Al Bulooki, has indicated that no effort will be spared in achieving its goal of becoming “the best business aviation airport in the world.”
DhabiJet’s goals include providing the fastest possible “door-to-door” transit time for passengers and crew, full on-site support for immigration and customs and a full range of competitively priced FBO services. ADAC has indicated that it might be willing to allow other companies to establish competing FBOs at Al Bateen as traffic growth merits such a move.
Meanwhile, it has already opened the door to two independent providers of maintenance, repair and overhaul services. Jet Aviation has signed a lease to establish a line maintenance facility that will be run by an offshoot of the business aviation services group’s established facility at nearby Dubai, where it operates authorized service centers (ASCs) for Gulfstream, Dassault, Hawker Beechcraft and Boeing Business Jets.
Separately, ADAC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Air Works group, which currently has 14 aircraft maintenance and refurbishment facilities across India, including ASCs for AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, Embraer, Garmin, Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and Superjet International. It now plans to add a line maintenance operation in Abu Dhabi.
The first half of 2011 saw 40-percent growth in business aviation movements at Al Bateen, compared with the same period last year. The airport, which is located barely three miles from Abu Dhabi’s central business district, recently saw the arrival of a new based operator in the shape of Rotana Jet, which currently flies a Gulfstream G450.