Qatar’s Rizon Protests Alleged Handling Restrictions

 - January 24, 2013, 3:38 PM

Qatar-based Rizon Jet says the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is unfairly blocking the company’s plans to expand its business aviation services. The privately owned group charged on Tuesday that it is “facing hindrances that make it impossible to sustain a viable business in Qatar.”

In 2011, Rizon Jet invested around $137 million to build its own private terminal at Doha International Airport. The CAA had approved the development, having issued the company an air operator permit in 2009, but within seven days of the March 2012 inauguration the agency demanded that the company stop handling operations, claiming that it had been providing handling contrary to the approved terms.

According to Rizon Jet CEO Capt. Hassan Al-Mousawi, the handling services in question had in fact been provided on its behalf by Qatar Aviation Services, which is a subsidiary of government-owned flag carrier Qatar Airways and owns Qatar Executive, a business jet charter company that competes with Rizon. Following an investigation, the CAA told Rizon Jet in November that it would block all future applications to use its Doha terminal for third-party flights. The authority has also blocked Rizon’s requests for a travel agency license and to be allowed to add third-party flight support services to its portfolio.

At press time, neither the Qatar CAA nor Qatar Airways had responded to AIN’s repeated requests for comment.