Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based charter operator Alpha Star Aviation Services (Booth 3824) has equipped its entire fleet with electronic flight bags (EFBs). The six VIP aircraft include three Airbuses (ACJ318, ACJ319 and ACJ320), one Gulfstream G550, one Hawker 900XP and one ATR 42. The company intends to have its pilots using EFBs–iPads connected to a Rockwell Collins system–during the entire flight in the short term. “Our crews were trained by Lufthansa and FlightSafety,” CEO Salem Al Muzaini added.
Alpha Star also announced that it is adding its A318 to the air operators certificate that it has from Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority. The aircraft will therefore become the first of the type to reach Saudi Part 135 safety standards, the company claimed. Alpha Star’s ACJ318 is fitted with a LiveTV system that receives programs via U.S., European, Arabsat and Nilsat satellites. Airborne Internet connectivity offers speeds of up to 4.5 Mbps.
In 2016, Alpha Star will have Airbus’s Sharklets (winglets) installed on its in-service ACJ320. The retrofit comprises local structural reinforcement of the outer wing, a software upgrade to several flight-control computers and replacement of the existing wingtips by Sharklets. The operator has thus become the first Airbus ACJ320 owner to order the retrofit. Alpha Star expects to save about 4 percent in fuel burn, while also enhancing performance and appearance.
Separately, the Saudi operator has obtained ISO 9001 quality system certification, which comes on top of its implementing the international standard for business aircraft operations (IS-BAO).
In addition to charter flights, Alpha Star, founded in 2010, also offers air ambulance, aircraft management, line maintenance and consultancy services.