UAE government-owned carrier Etihad Airways inaugurated its fourth destination in North America on April 1, starting daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. Etihad last opened a new route to North America more than three years ago by starting service to Chicago, adding to its previous launches in New York and Toronto. Emirates, the largest Middle East carrier, started service between Washington Dulles and Dubai last September.
Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport (Stand 1943) is fast gaining traction as the Middle East’s first and only dedicated business aviation gateway. The former military air base has been reinvented as a business aviation service hub, along the lines airports such as the London-area Farnborough and Biggin Hill, and Le Bourget in Paris.
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.
Regional airline service has been slow to take root in the Middle East, and especially at the entry-level turboprop end of the market. But now, a start-up operator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing to launch a feeder service to the region’s aspiring hubs in Abu Dhabi and Doha, giving locals the chance to bypass crowded Dubai.
Based in Fujairah, UAE, Eastern Express plans to ferry business passengers into Abu Dhabi and Doha to connect with growing Gulf-based international passenger networks starting during this year’s first quarter.
As part of its planned expansion in Europe, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways intends to increase its ownership stake in Air Berlin to 29 percent, a move that would make it the largest single shareholder in Germany’s second largest airline.
Abu Dhabi, UAE-based Al Bateen Executive Airport, the Gulf Region’s only dedicated private aviation airport, reported more than 150 business aircraft movements during the Etihad Airways Formula 1TM Grand Prix, which were held November 8 to 13. This represents an increase of 58 percent in movements compared with the same period for last year’s event.
Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport has further boosted its credentials as the Middle East’s leading business aviation hub by establishing its own branded FBO and opening the provision of maintenance, repair and overhaul services to an independent provider.
In the continuing development of Al Bateen Executive Airport into a dedicated business aviation hub, the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), owner of the airport, and Jet Aviation Group signed a lease agreement at EBACE yesterday that will make the aviation services company the first independent MRO provider on the field.
Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi took a step toward its goal of becoming “the best business aviation airport in the world” in the words of general manager Steve Jones, with the introduction of its branded FBO, DhabiJet, at EBACE yesterday.
Al Bateen Executive Airport (Stand C600) handled nearly 100 private aircraft movements during the recent Ethiad Airways Formula 1 Grand Prix in mid-November. While the peak traffic days were November 13 and 14 overall traffic increased 17 percent when compared with the number of aircraft handled during the 2009 race. Aircraft as large as a VIP Boeing 757 landed at Al Bateen, a former military airbase.