A short-notice, low-profile visit to the UAE by British Prime Minister David Cameron this week boosted the prospects of an order for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But government and military sources in London and Paris told AIN that the Emiratis are in no hurry to make a decision, and that the Dassault Rafale remains in contention. Dassault declined to comment on the latest development.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai’s importance as a hub for carrier Emirates Airline continues to increase, along with its proportion of connections to total traffic. Connecting passengers now account for 70 percent of all traffic into and out of Dubai, Emirates reported last month. For example, on September 5, the airline’s Dubai-Glasgow flight, EK27, attracted passengers from 39 points on the globe, from Accra and Cape Town in Africa, Christchurch in New Zealand, and Tokyo and Seoul in Asia.
Organizers of the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show expect the fifth staging of the biennial event to be reinvigorated by its new venue at the Dubai World Central (DWC) airport. This year’s show (December 11 to 13) will benefit from the use of one of the just-completed, but as yet unoccupied, passenger terminals at DWC, also known as Al Maktoum International Airport.
Right in the middle of the NBAA Convention is precisely the right time to begin thinking about December’s Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show in Dubai, the fifth edition since the show began in 2005. This year’s event runs from December 11 to 13, but at a new location, Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (OMDW), a 25-minute drive south of the City of Dubai.
Three months after launching scheduled domestic service in the UAE with flights to Sir Bani Yas and Delma Islands from Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport, Rotana Jet extended its offering on September 19 to double-daily Embraer ERJ-145 service from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Fujairah. Exactly a week later, the upstart regional airline started twice-daily flights from Abu Dhabi International to Al Ain.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for liberalization of the Middle East market, including new freedoms for airlines to price services and more readily access capital at a time when the industry group claims excessive regulation has stunted the growth of vital players, especially in Saudi Arabia. “Who cares who owns an airline, if it is safe and provides efficient service?” said Hussein Dabbas, IATA’s regional vice president for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), speaking last week at a seminar in Dubai organized by Embraer.
Avisa Gulf, the Middle East joint venture between Avisa UK and Al Jaber Aviation, has been awarded the first-ever UAE and MENA region airworthiness GCAA Part M Camo (Continued Airworthiness and Maintenance Management Organization) approval from the General Civil Aviation Authority for a standalone company. Operating from its base in Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi, Avisa offers feasibility studies, business plan development and a start-up solution for new operations wanting to earn their AOC or AMO or Camo.
Avisa Gulf, a joint venture between Avisa UK and Al Jaber Aviation, has been awarded the first UAE, Middle East and North Africa region airworthiness GCAA Part M Continued Airworthiness and Maintenance Management Organization approval for a private company.
Undaunted by the dominance of its Dubai and Abu Dhabi “big brothers” in the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah is pressing ahead with plans to put itself on the air transport map. After a badly timed false start at the peak of the recent financial crisis, RAK Airways will have been back in business for two years by the end of 2012, and the emirate’s airport is drawing attention for its wide-open capacity and widebodies-welcome 12,332-foot runway.
As the phenomenal growth in the Middle East air transport sector gathers momentum, attention is turning to how to manage the increased numbers of airliners now on order when they enter the skies above the Persian Gulf. This is especially true in the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region–home to Emirates Airline, Etihad and Qatar Airways–where governments have risen to the challenge of air traffic management, and now thoughts are turning to how to mount a regional effort to maximize air traffic efficiency.