ExecuJet Opens FBOs in Wellington and Melbourne

 - March 2, 2012, 1:55 AM
ExecuJet added a facility in Australia at Melbourne’s Essendon Airport last year, and it expects to continue to see increasing traffic from Southeast Asia and China.

ExecuJet Aviation’s growing global FBO network now extends from new facilities in Australasia to its rebranded operation at Cambridge Airport in the UK. Late last year, the Switzerland-based group unveiled new bases at Wellington International Airport in New Zealand and at Melbourne’s Essendon Airport in Australia. Both, according to the company, have the potential for long-term growth, building on increasing business aviation activity across the Asia-Pacific region.

In Wellington–as in Cambridge–ExecuJet won a tender issued by the airport management to take a lease on a facility built in time to receive traffic for last year’s rugby World Cup tournament. Day-to-day operation of the FBO is done in partnership with local charter operator Capital Jet Services, which already has bases at Queenstown and in Auckland, where it operates the Air Centre One FBO. ExecuJet is laying plans to establish a maintenance operation in Wellington, driven in part by growing demand for it to manage aircraft based in New Zealand.

In Australia, ExecuJet has built the FBO itself, having already been established in Melbourne for five years with aircraft charter, management and maintenance operations. The company has added a 10,760-sq-ft building for passengers and crew, and the overall site now spans just over 29,000 sq ft, with hangar accommodation available. Handling is available between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. The new building features a VIP lounge and flight-planning and support facilities for crew.

Essendon Airport is about six miles closer to downtown than Melbourne International Airport and, according to ExecuJet Australasia managing director Darren McGoldrick, as much as one third of Australia’s business aircraft fleet is effectively based there. ExecuJet faces handling competition from Executive Airlines and Australasian Jet.

Even since the economic downturn of 2008, ExecuJet has seen business aviation growth in Australia, with new aircraft and owners arriving. Visiting traffic from Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent from China, has also boosted the upswing Down Under.

ExecuJet’s Melbourne engineering operation is an FAA Part 145 repair station and holds Australian and New Zealand approvals to work on a variety of business aircraft. The facility is an authorized service center for Hawker Beechcraft, Gulfstream, Bombardier and Embraer.

Bizav traffic in Wellington remains relatively modest for now, with fewer than 100 movements last year. However, the airport authority clearly takes the view that having a purpose-built FBO with support services is a key part of the city’s offering to the business community.

The 21,500-sq-ft facility is a port of entry for New Zealand’s customs, immigration and quarantine procedures. There is sufficient ramp space to park a pair of Boeing Business Jets overnight and room in a hangar for aircraft up to the size of a Gulfstream G550.

Handling is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with support outside these hours provided on request; the airport’s operating hours are 6 a.m. to midnight. Competing handling services are provided at Wellington by Sky Care.