With many eyes focused on Egypt since the downfall of President Morsi, business aircraft operators are wondering about their next trip to the region. Thomas Winn, interim director of the Master of Security Management for Executives program at the University of Houston Downtown, told AIN, “If a trip to Egypt isn’t business essential right now, it should wait until all of Egypt gets re-examined. There’s obvious instability in the region, and I’m concerned about the potential for violence and retaliation.”
The Gulf region is recognized as one of the key markets for private aviation, and Middle East Business Aviation Association chairman Ali Al Naqbi is determined to help shape it as a safe one. To this end he is proposing to set up an informal working group dubbed “Middle East Control,” rather like the early days of Eurocontrol when the six founding member states collaborated to achieve integrated air traffic services across Europe.
Business aviation flew to the rescue of several thousand people fleeing Egypt during protests that led to the overthrow of long-standing President Hosni Mubarak last month. But prospects for continued business aviation growth in the country are now largely dependent on the extent to which Egypt's political revolution affects its economic life.
When the Russian tourists who were attacked by sharks in Egypt last week needed emergency medical aid, Cairo-based charter operator Smart Aviation came to the rescue with air ambulance-configured Citation Sovereigns.
"We took the people from Sharm el-Sheikh to Cairo, and we're going to be taking them back to Moscow," said Tarek Fouad, Smart's manager, commercial and sales, at the company's stand here at MEBA (Stand C100).
Alkan Air, a Cairo-based charter operator and service center, has received an Egyptian Ministerial decree to maintain and service King Airs and other Hawker Beechcraft aircraft. Alkan Air says that the decree, backed by the Egyptian CAA, makes it the only handler in the region (Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Algeria) that offers a complete set of maintenance services, parts and line checks.
MAC Aircraft Interior Specialists has completed refurbishment of the second of three Falcon 20s for Egypt Air. The first aircraft was finished late last year and work has begun on the third airplane.
AgustaWestland’s order book for the AW139 medium twin now exceeds 430. The latest order is from Egypt’s Petroleum Air Services for two and options on two more. PAS services platforms in the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea.
Despite sagging economies worldwide, the demand for CRJ200 conversions to executive configuration appears to be gaining momentum. One of the latest CRJ200 sales was by Project Phoenix to Egyptian actor and martial arts professional Yousef Mansour for a 12-passenger version.
The new Marsa Alam International Airport has opened in southern Egypt. The facility was built and is being operated by Kuwait’s M.A. Kharafi Group as a gateway to new upscale tourist resorts on Egypt’s Red Sea coast. The airport (ICAO code HEMA) offers a 9,800-ft runway with DVOR-DME. It can be kept open around the clock with 48 hr notice.