As airports along the western Mediterranean coast watch business aircraft movements climb slowly back toward pre-recession numbers, a move has begun to create an organization of FBOs and airports involved in ground handling, fuel and services for this industry segment.
According to Umberto Vallino, marketing and statistics manager at Cannes-Mandelieu Airport, located in the center of the region, such an organization would benefit the ground handlers as well as business and private aircraft owners and operators.
“It makes sense,” he explained at the recent Business Airport World Expo in Cannes. “We really do not compete for the same customers at the same times. In Cannes, for example, the airport is limited to aircraft no heavier than 22 [metric] tons [48,501 pounds], and a seasonal spike in activity comes in May for the Cannes Film Festival.”
By contrast, he notes that Nice Cote d’Azur International, an hour drive east from Cannes, also experiences a seasonal peak in summer, but its May spike in activity takes visitors with different interests east toward Monaco for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. Further, Nice Cote d’Azur is not limited in terms of aircraft size and accommodates business jets well over the 22-tonne limit at Cannes.
“But the most important thing is to establish a high standard of service in common so there are no unpleasant surprises for the customer, no matter what member FBO or airport he uses,” said Vallino.
The organization, for the time being referred to as the Mediterranean Business Aviation Airports Association, would also allow members to reduce the cost of exhibiting at numerous aviation expositions by taking a single large exhibit space and populating it with representatives from each FBO and airport. Members would also benefit from mutually advantageous advertising campaigns and promotions.
Initially, he said, the association might start small, with members from Albenga and Genoa in Italy, Cannes, Nice and Saint-Tropez in France, the Spanish island of Majorca and the upscale town of Olbia on the northeast coast of the island of Sardinia. The organization might then expand down along the east coast of Spain to include Barcelona and Valencia; the west coast of Italy, including Rome and Naples; and eventually major destinations along the north coast of Africa east as far as Malta, speculated Vallino.
He said discussions with various airports are just beginning, but he hopes to establish an initial agreement and charter with the first members as early as May.
Those seeking more information can contact Vallino at Cannes-Mandelieu Airport at +33 493-904-255, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.