Strong Presence at Istanbul Show Highlights Turkish Bizav Growth

 - October 2, 2012, 4:30 AM
Business aviation had a strong profile at Istanbul’s Airex show, reflecting the sector’s growing significance as Turkey exploits its location as a gateway between Europe and the markets of Asia and the Middle East.

Last month’s Airex show in Turkey (September 6 to 9) highlighted the country’s emergence as a hub of aviation growth on Europe’s boundary with the increasingly dynamic markets of Asia and the Middle East. Business aviation was a large facet of the event, which was staged on the general aviation apron of Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, reflecting growth being engineered by both foreign and local companies.

Ankara-based Emair was celebrating 40 years as Cessna’s main dealer in the country. According to board member Selim Gürsan, the company (founded by his father) has helped Cessna’s Citation series achieve almost one-third of the Turkish market and sold numerous piston singles as trainers.

Emair manages three Citations on behalf of their owners and these aircraft (a CJ3, an XLS+ and a Sovereign) are based at its headquarters at Ankara Esenboga International Airport, where it has an established maintenance, repair and overhaul operation. “Maintenance is doing well; we have 80 to 90 percent of Citation maintenance work and the largest hangar in the bizav market here,” said Gürsan.

Switzerland-based MRO and completions group Amac Aerospace also wants a slice of the growing Turkish market for business aircraft support, and with this in mind opened its new hangar at Atatürk Airport during the Airex show. The company aims to earn European Aviation Safety Agency Part 145 approval by year-end.

The new Istanbul facility will also serve as a platform for its efforts to market the Pilatus PC-12 in the Middle East, with Amac having become a regional distributor for the turboprop single in January. Amac COO Atilla Güney told AIN that the company is now evaluating the market to decide the business aircraft series on which it should focus its maintenance efforts.

Embraer has also made some inroads into the Turkish market, having delivered one each of the Phenom 100, Phenom 300 and Legacy 600. Alongside local partner Delta Aerospace, which has been allied with the Brazilian airframer since May this year, it displayed its flagship Lineage 1000 at Airex.

Dassault was present with a Falcon 2000LX and 7X. Gulfstream’s regional vice president for international sales, Trevor Esling, was busy fronting a sales drive for its aircraft, with two G550s heading the Savannah airframer’s presence in the static park.

Bombardier displayed a Global 6000, featuring its new Vision flight deck, as well as a Learjet 60XR and a Challenger 605. “Turkey, as a gateway to both the Middle East and Europe, has the potential to be a breakout market for Bombardier,” said Raphael Haddad, Bombardier’s sales vice president for the Middle East and Africa. According to the Canadian airframer’s most recent market forecast, Turkey and the Middle East are expected to take delivery of 1,185 business jets between 2012 and 2031.

Piper Aircraft board member Enrico Evers told AIN that his company expects certification for the Meridian single turboprop in Russia soon. The U.S. company recently signed Turkey’s Baymap Aviation as its local distributor and its first dealer in the Middle East.

Other local business aviation companies at the Airex show included MNGjet–a spin-off of the MNG cargo airline, which has a large Part 145 maintenance center at Atatürk Airport–and TAV Air. The latter’s general manager, Berrin Yer, told AIN that the group’s TAV Airports subsidiary also offers its own Hawker and Citation Sovereign jets for charter.

Also present was EA Aerospace, the Turkish founding partner of the new Eclipse Aerospace group. Ekim Alptekin, EA shareholder and owner of the Eclipse 500 on display at the show, has started an Istanbul-based air-taxi operation called Seabird Airlines, which operates a pair of DHC-6 Twin Otters.

In the helicopter market, AgustaWestland had a large stand. It announced that Turkish operator Kaan Air has signed a preliminary sales contract for two AW169s and an AW139.

Airex organizers confirmed that the next event in two years time will be rebranded as the Istanbul Airshow 2014.