Gama Aviation (Booth No. 141) reached an important milestone in its global expansion plan by gaining an air operator’s certificate from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in February. The UK-based group secured the AOC in barely six months, having applied for it in June 2009. It operates from a new base at Sharjah International Airport and has a sales office in Dubai.
United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Aabar Investments is investing a further $20 million in charter provider XOJet. The move came just four months after XOJet secured $470 million in additional funding from a group led by TPG, a Fort Worth-based private equity firm, and Aabar. Meanwhile, Aabar and XOjet said they plan to form a joint venture in the UAE to provide aviation services in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Middle East Aerospace Consortium (MEAC) has opened an Asia-Pacific office in Shanghai, China. Graham Brant, former CEO of Microsoft Hong Kong, will head up
the new office, which MEAC said will complement its existing presence in the United Arab Emirates, UK, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.
News from the international airshow circuit can be revealing and deceiving in equal measure. Two years ago, the 2007 Dubai Airshow generated a record-breaking $155 billion in orders. This year’s Dubai Airshow, held November 15 to 19, saw just $14 billion in new business announced.
The Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for the UAE passed its critical design review phase, keeping the program on schedule. The first of two aircraft being converted by Provincial Aerospace Ltd. (PAL) of Canada are to be qualified in the first half of 2011, with service entry slated for later in that year.
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.
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.
Local low-fare airline Flydubai yesterday inked a pair of aircraft financing deals worth $160 million. Also here at the Dubai Airshow, it signed a contract with Goodrich to supply wheels and carbon brakes for its first 54 Boeing 737s.
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.