New FBOs meet rising bizav demand in Middle East

 - July 28, 2011, 6:05 AM

Rizon Jet recently opened its long-planned FBOs at London’s Biggin Hill Airport and Doha International Airport. Both the UK and Qatar facilities will provide handling support and they plan to extend their maintenance portfolios. Both facilities have been designed expressly to meet the preferences of the growing number of Middle Eastern business aircraft users.

The 7,933-sq-ft facility in Doha is operational around the clock and offers direct access to a private ramp. The new building features two fully enclosed private lounges, a pair of semi-enclosed lounges as well as an open lounge area with a water feature, indoor garden, duty-free store as well as separate male and female prayer rooms. As for its twin FBO at Biggin Hill, the Doha architects placed a strong emphasis on providing facilities in which children can be looked after.

The facility also has full flight crew services with a briefing area with workstations and a quiet lounge area. Adjoining the FBO, the Doha complex features a large hangar and parking space to accommodate up to four Bombardier Global XRSes or nine Challenger 604s simultaneously.

Rizon is owned by Qatar’s GSSG Holdings and has ambitions to become a major business aviation services group. In Qatar, its aircraft management and charter division operates a pair of Challenger 605s and a Hawker 900XP. Through a partnership with UK operator Oryx Jet, the fleet also includes another 900XP and a Premier I, and this is due to be supplemented by a Falcon 50.

In January 2009, Rizon placed an order for four new Learjet 85s, and these are still set for delivery by 2015. However, an earlier order for a Global 5000 due for 2011 delivery appears to have been abandoned.

Rizon Jet was formed by Qatar’s GSSG Holdings group in 2006 and has spent more than five years developing its plans to establish a business aviation services group spanning the Middle East and Europe. The growth of its charter/management fleet has been slow, but it should be better placed to expand its portfolio now that it has secured initial maintenance approvals in Qatar and the UK. The group expects to employ 160 people by year-end.

The Biggin Hill facility now holds both European and Qatari Part 145 approvals, and in the UK its Continuous Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO) clearance is held by Oryx Jet. Rizon has its own CAMO approval in Qatar, and its Doha base is applying for authorization to work on Saudi Arabian aircraft too. Both facilities are seeking maintenance clearance from the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. In Doha, the company will seek approval to work on aircraft registered in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in its 17,000-sq-ft workshops.

The Biggin Hill complex, with a total size of some 130,000 sq ft, is roughly the same overall size as its counterpart in Doha. The 62,538-sq-ft hangar can accommodate up to five Bombardier Global XRSes or nine Challenger 605s. It features adjoining offices and workshops.

The impressively decorated terminal has a modern Middle Eastern feel, with five separate seating areas split over two levels, plus a children’s area, prayer room and business center. There is also a spacious flight planning area for crew and full kitchens and cold storage provision.

Catering is provided through a partnership between Rizon and Cuisine Air International. They also run a café on the other side of the building that will largely be used by visiting crews and engineering staff.

The new London-area FBO is being managed by newly appointed Allan McGreal. Jackie Nikolajsen is the general manager of Rizon’s UK operation. He told AIN that the company wants to achieve authorized service facility status with Bombardier, and has been told that this could happen if it proves its capabilities over the next year or so.