Al Bateen Airport Steals the Show

 - March 13, 2012, 4:00 PM

While the inaugural three-day Abu Dhabi Air Expo held last week at Al Bateen Executive Airport attracted almost 100 exhibitors and approximately 7,500 visitors, the airport itself was the star of the show. Opened in the 1960s, Al Bateen is minutes from Abu Dhabi’s prime locations and lies on the city’s main island. In 2008, airport manager Abu Dhabi Airports converted it into a facility for business jet operators. Established VIP players Al Jaber Aviation and Prestige Jet and charter operator Falcon Aviation Services are its major users. Last year, Rotana Jet relocated its main base of operations to the executive airport; the company owns a Gulfstream G450 and expects to take delivery of an Airbus A319ER and two Embraer 145s within six months. Traffic is also growing at Al Bateen. “For five years now, we’ve seen year-on-year growth of 10 to 20 percent in civil traffic,” said Al Bateen general manager Steve Jones. He also said he has seen a shift from based operators to itinerant traffic, thanks to more business aircraft using the airport for tech stops. “They used to go into Dubai or Doha, but are increasingly coming here. No hassle, no waiting for a slot, 24/7, full ILS system, get their fuel and away they go.”