In 1968, the Vietnam War was raging, the public got its first glimpse of Boeing’s iconic 747 and Apollo 8 orbited the Moon for the first time. Meanwhile, up in the “Great White North,” entrepreneur and general aviation pilot Irving Shoichet launched an aircraft charter company and founded the first FBO at Toronto International Airport (renamed Lester B. Pearson International Airport during the 1980s).
ExecuJet Aviation Group
AIN’s annual FBO survey for 2014 is now live for selected participants to vote for their favorite facilities. Those selected will receive email notifications regarding the survey over the coming weeks.
The transfer of business aviation from Dubai International (DXB) to Dubai World Central (DWC) is picking up speed as business jet operators face a tightening squeeze at Dubai’s existing airport caused by dwindling slots and timing restrictions. Four charter operators have set up FBOs at DWC: Jet Aviation, Jetex, ExecuJet and DC Aviation-Al Futtaim. Dubai-based officials said 3,000 to 4,000 bizav aircraft movements would have to be transferred from DXB to DWC during the closure of DXB for runway rehabilitation, set to run for almost three months this year.
Jetex Flight Support opened its FBO at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport last week in a temporary facility shared with Jet Aviation and ExecuJet. The company is offering a lounge, ground support, fueling, handling and security services. Other amenities include hotel accommodation, catering and limousine services, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi. Customs and immigration services are also available at the FBO.
According to aviation data research firm WingX Advance, there have been 139,966 business aviation movements at the top 22 airports in the Middle East so far this year, a 3-percent rise from the same period a year ago. WingX said the majority of departures from the region are headed to Europe.
King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah is the busiest of the 22 Middle Eastern airports, with 909 departures year-to-date, 62 percent of which are private flights, it said. Activity at Kuwait, which is one of the busiest charter departure points, is up 7 percent year-over-year.
ExecuJet Middle East (Stand 2406), which opened an FBO in partnership with NasJet in Riyadh two months ago, is claiming it has brought a level of service that was previously lacking in the capital of Saudi Arabia.
“We provide no additional service but it is a question of being responsive and timely and ensuring the customer experience is efficient,” ExecuJet Middle East managing director Mike Berry told AIN. Passengers are a diverse mix, ranging from companies to wealthy individuals and companies, he said. Pilots benefit from their own private lounge.
Jet Aviation has expanded operations at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport, underlining its FBO presence at the new airport, which opened less than a year ago. It also highlights the growing trend for business jet migration from Dubai International to DWC, which started around the time of the Middle East Business Aviation event in December 2012.
Although charter providers form an important part of the Middle East aviation market they have faced tough times in recent years, unlike the region’s royal flights. “Royalty always had money and always will have money,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for Teal Group, of Fairfax, Virginia. “The entrepreneur class that was growing has obviously been hit by the downturn, though,” he added.
ExecuJet Europe has plans to launch commercial helicopter charter operations from the company’s London Cambridge FBO later this year, the company announced at Helitech in September. ExecuJet Europe expects to receive a helicopter air operator certificate (AOC) from the UK Civil Aviation Authority next month.
It will not operate its own helicopters but rather use those it has under management contracts. The company’s managed fleet already includes two Eurocopter EC155s based at Cambridge Airport, with another two contracts in the final stages of negotiation.
Jet Aviation (Booth No. N1932) has announced the completion of its ramp and hangar expansion at Teterboro just in time for February’s Super Bowl, which will take place practically next door to the airport. The FBO has increased its ramp space by 70,000 sq ft, adding parking space for an additional 20 to 25 aircraft depending on size.