International handling company Feras (Booth No. 1187), which has more than 100 of its own locations and operations in 23 countries, is seeing rapid growth in areas that a few years ago rarely ever saw business aircraft traffic. The growth is a combination of U.S. travelers seeking new business opportunities and aircraft operators now based in those countries, said Otto Wright, director of sales and marketing. Year over year sales growth averaged 48 percent, he said, mostly due to increases in volume and not because of climbing fuel prices.
Although Feras has no traditional FBOs in any of the countries it serves, it does have lounges and offices at some airports but no hangars. Feras’s first VIP terminal opens June 1 in Zadar, Croatia, offering visitors an alternative to more crowded Split-Kastela airport and a much shorter drive to the popular Split yacht harbor. The longest runway at Zadar Airport is 8,500 feet, making the airport a good technical stop for European traffic bound for the Middle East. The Feras facilities include passenger and crew lounges, offices and ramp space. Feras also plans to add hangars at Zadar, Wright said, but these won’t be adjacent to the VIP terminal. Feras has exclusive rights to handle general aviation traffic at Zadar Airport, he added, although fuel is provided by a local fuel supplier.
Feras is looking at other locations to build FBO facilities. “There are several places where we can build Feras-branded FBOs,” Wright said. Traditionally Feras was known for serving airports in Russia and the CIS, but the former Yugoslavian countries as well as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria “are booming quite a bit.” This is because, he said, more companies are taking advantage of acquisition opportunities in these countries. “It’s a really exciting spot to be in,” Wright concluded.