As the next biennial Dubai Air Show approaches, all eyes are on the Middle East, but not entirely for the usual reasons. Even after being dented by the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the region still holds huge potential for the air transport and aerospace industries.
Middle East Business Aviation Association chairman Ali Al Naqbi is proposing to set up an informal working group, dubbed “Middle East Control,” to achieve integrated air traffic services across the Gulf region. With 22 jurisdictions covering the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Al Naqbi is aware he has a lot of work ahead.
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.
U.S.-based Jetcraft’s sales this year are heading toward the company’s busiest ever as it nears its golden anniversary. Year-to-date, Jetcraft has sold 19 aircraft valued at $378 million; 60 percent of those sales were outside the U.S. Long-range jets are the dominant type sold, especially to key emerging markets in China, India, Russia and Africa, but the total also includes VVIP jets and helicopters.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has signed a multi-year fleet management program contract with Aramco Associated, an affiliate of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). Under the terms of the contract, P&WC will provide engine support for the Saudi Aramco-operated AgustaWestland AW139 fleet based in Saudi Arabia. The program’s guaranteed maintenance cost plan contract covers PT6 engines over the term of the agreement.
FBO chain Signature Flight Support, with 103 facilities around the world, is interested in opening a Middle East FBO, said Steve Gulvin, regional vice president Europe and Middle East, "but we've decided conditions have to be right." Signature is exhibiting at MEBA for the third time and each time its presence at this show and also the biennial Dubai Airshow has grown.
Some of the world's top pilots are going to battle it out at next year's Al Ain Aerobatic Show (February 2-5, 2011). The Desert Challenge, officially sanctioned by the Federation Aeronautique International (FAI), will be the centerpiece for a show that is expected to attract 130,000 people.
This AIN editor had an opportunity to tour Emirates/CAE Flight Training Center in Dubai. I was quickly impressed not simply with the size of the center, but also the pristine nature of the entire facility, a location that appears to have thought of almost every possible customer comfort, from snacks and drinks for crewmembers, no matter when their classes might operate, to limousine services to carry customers to and from their hotels.
Despite what Avjet Routing (Stand C225) called a year of "uncontrollable economic factors," the Sharjah-based aircraft handling company said it recorded a year of strong growth, strong enough, in fact, that the company labeled its 2010 performance to date as "exceptional." Growth came through a number of new contacts joining its AV-Global Network.
UK-based private aviation services provider Ocean Sky (Booth No. E312) has signaled its expansion into the Middle East with the opening of an office in Dubai. According to the company, while its initial focus in the region will be to offer air charter and aircraft management services, it expects eventually to expand into other segments such as aircraft acquisition and sales and FBO operations.