Gama Aviation’s FBO at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) witnessed 70-percent growth in traffic last year and is anticipating similar growth this year. To keep pace with demand, during the second quarter of this year the company expects to complete development of new passenger and crew lounges. It is also set to double staffing levels at the facility by the end of next month.
On average, Middle Eastern business aircraft passengers fly twice as many hours as those in Europe, according to a benchmarking study from Dubai-based Private Jet Charter. The average UAE private jet passenger flies 100 to 150 hours annually, a figure that rises to between 150 and 200 hours for business aircraft fliers in Saudi Arabia. This compares to the average of 50 to 100 hours flown yearly by European business aircraft passengers. Private Jet Charter attributes the difference to “the limited availability of commercial options on domestic routes” in the Middle East.
A war of words has flared between Ankara and Damascus this week after a Turkish air force Lockheed Martin F-16 shot down a Syrian air force Mikoyan MiG-23BN ground attacker on Sunday. While Syria described the shootdown as a “flagrant act of aggression,” Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned Syria that “our response will be heavy if you violate our airspace.” Syria has also accused Ankara of shooting down the aircraft to deflect attention away from Turkish domestic political issues, just a week before local elections.
The need for better regulation and firmer action to stem the tide of the so-called gray market in illegal charter flights will top the agenda at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference (MEBAC), which will be held in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, on April 10. The event is organized by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), which is taking the lead in pushing for firmer legal foundations to support the region’s fast-growing industry.
Earlier this month Japan released some details about the growth of incursions by Chinese aircraft into Japanese airspace. The release of information comes after China unilaterally declared the establishment of its East China Sea ADIZ (air defense identification zone) last November. The figures show a significant rise in the number of interceptions being launched by the JASDF (Japan air self-defence force) against Chinese intruders.
Infrastructure and regulatory issues continue to stifle general aviation in India, and for the first time in a decade the industry contracted by one percent last year, according to Rohit Kapur, president of the country’s Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA).
Kapur told a press conference at this week’s India Aviation show in Hyderabad that 13 aircraft were imported into the country last year and 19 were sold.
The Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan plans to launch a domestic airline, Air Kazakhstan, in early 2015 with a fleet of 10 new Bombardier Q400 twin turboprops.
“Yuan Fang, what do you think?” goes the catchphrase from Chinese TV’s equivalent to Sherlock Holmes. Amazing sleuth Di Renjie depends on his assistant, Yuan Fang, for sound counsel, since he never knows the answer himself.
It’s an apt way to approach what is happening in the business aviation market in the greater China region today. The sector remains elusive for the big manufacturers and has yet to deliver the huge prizes promised a few short years ago.
Gulfstream has a fleet of over 100 business aircraft owned and operated in the Arabian Gulf region, with both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) representing strong customer basses in the large-cabin market.
Jet Aviation Dubai will move its business operations to Dubai World Central throughout the planned runway rehabilitation project this summer at Dubai International Airport. As such, it will support full FBO, line maintenance and AOG services at its Dubai World Central facility from May 1 through July 21. Following completion of the runway construction project, Jet Aviation will resume full maintenance and FBO operations at Dubai International Airport.