Although the supply of French Rafale combat jets to the UAE was not finalized at the Dubai Airshow, there were plenty of indications that negotiations are going well. In an unusual departure from custom, the former head of the UAE Air Force gave a detailed interview on the progress of the deal to The National, the main newspaper in Abu Dhabi.
Breaking with a tradition that has seen major military procurements signed and announced only in Abu Dhabi, the UAE government sealed deals for new training and AEW&C aircraft during the Dubai Airshow this month. Pilatus secured the new basic trainer, an order for 25 PC-21s worth $521 million, to also include several training simulators with all systems and services.
Boeing and Mubadala Development Co. yesterday signed a so-called strategic framework agreement covering “key” areas of collaboration, including such “mutual beneficial areas” as composite manufacturing, engineering, research and development, commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul, military maintenance and sustainment, pilot training and people development.
Officials from Team Rafale are quietly confident that a deal for up to 60 airplanes will be made with the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, they are signing agreements here at the show with local entities that further strengthen the French influence in Emirati education and industry.
Maximus Air Cargo announced yesterday that it is joining forces with Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Airports Co. (ADAC) to launch “Care By Air,” a humanitarian effort that will provide cargo space at cost for relief aid to disaster-stricken areas of the world. Supporting members include the United Arab Emirates’ Red Crescent and the United Nations World Food Program, and more are expected to join soon.
Al Ain-based Horizon International Flight Academy, which has assembled a fleet of nearly 30 aircraft since it was established in 2002, is looking for growth opportunities.
The new Gulf Wings UAE operation of Jordanian charter/ management company Arab Wings is up and running as of yesterday when the company received its air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates.
Canada-based Skyplan, a flight-services provider, plans to open an office in Dubai in February to complement its existing Sharjah office, which opened a year ago, and to better serve clients operating out of Dubai International Airport and elsewhere in the region.
It is not too late to sign up to exhibit at next year’s Farnborough International airshow, but the remaining chalets and indoor exhibits are selling fast.
Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways expects to make a profit this year, even though it reported a $7.6 million first-half loss. “We are going to be profitable for the full year,” said chief executive Stefan Pichler, who joined the airline in June from a position as chief commercial officer at Virgin Blue. The low-cost carrier plans to open a second hub in 2010, having dropped routes to Beirut, Delhi, Mumbai, Salalah and Sanaa this year.