UAE Benefits From Arab Spring Fall-Out
Dubai-based trip-support provider United Aviation Services (Stand 330) said here at MEBA that the troubles since early last year in North Africa (and Syria) had led to an increase in people choosing to visit such as Dubai and other places in the region rather than the trouble spots. Abdul Charafeddin, the company’s marketing director, told AIN that “the Arab Spring [has generated] a lot of movement of general aviation flights. [There are] a lot of meetings being held in Europe, for example.”
UAS is making the most of MEBA to generate even more business. “[We are here] to welcome our clients, and also to discuss the current [global business aviation] situation and our business relationship with Russia, and at the same time greet new [potential] customers,” said Abdul Charafeddin, the company’s marketing director. That’s a welcome change from the tasks UAS typically contends with while supporting flights worldwide, including to some of the most remote regions of the world.
“You have no idea. Every day you wake up and come to the office, you’re hit with something you’ve never been hit with before,” said Jay Ammar Husary, one of five Syrian brothers who run UAS. Husary serves as the company’s senior director of operations and sales, while his brother, Omar Al Hosari, is managing director. Husary makes no bones about the demands the job places on him and his colleagues. “We are a service provider. It could be landing an aircraft or securing room service for the captain. We deal with all kinds of issues.”
In contrast, at MEBA, in addition to the pleasures of seeing old friends and clients, UAS is making new ones. “We get a lot of visitors [at our stand],” said Charafeddin. “They want to know what level of service we offer, and establish contacts for future operations.”
UAS was set up in 2000 to provide ’round-the-clock services. With access to more than 12,000 aircraft worldwide, the company can arrange permits on short notice, coordinate ground-handling services and fuel uplifts, as well as deliver reliable and prompt charter solutions across the globe. Services include computerized flight planning and weather briefings, clearances and navigation fees, comprehensive ground-handling services, fuel, hotel accommodation and transportation. Charter services and trip-cost estimates are also available.
As one of the UAE’s leading international trip support providers, UAS has been integral in assisting international private jet operators navigate the highly convoluted world of global aviation oversight and regulation, whether it is ICAO’s new electronic flight-plan standard, which took effect worldwide on November 15; the complexity of Chinese visa procedures for business jet crews; Brazil’s 15-day advance notice requirement for landing-permit revision; the difficulties of overnight stays in Iraq; or the unpredictability of Libya, where the seizure of Tripoli International Airport by armed militia in June did nothing to bolster international confidence.
Aeronautical information publications (AIPs), which define a country’s aviation rules and regulations and the variations among them, make flight-planners’ lives even more difficult because of the sheer detail involved. To take a very simple example, Husary said China’s AIP stipulates a prior notice of three working days for overflight permits, while India’s AIP demands seven days. With a plethora of airports available and open overflight access, the UAE is rising on the list of locations that business jet operators need to consider. So Dubai is rapidly becoming a center for flight support companies with close ties to the Middle East. Husary commended the UAE authorities for their flexibility and “wise, business-minded thinking.”
Asked for the one ingredient his 180 employees need, he quickly answered, “Common sense… No school or educational body exists that can prepare our staff for the job they face. They are trained by us, from A to Z. But common sense is very important. You need to think outside the box all the time, and make quick decisions. The job can’t be done without it.”