Although charter providers form an important part of the Middle East aviation market they have faced tough times in recent years, unlike the region’s royal flights. “Royalty always had money and always will have money,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for Teal Group, of Fairfax, Virginia. “The entrepreneur class that was growing has obviously been hit by the downturn, though,” he added.
United Arab Emirates
U.S. ambassador to the UAE Michael Corbin will participate in a ceremonial ribbon cutting at noon today to officially open the U.S. International Pavilion at Stand 2358. Luminaries appearing with Corbin include U.S. ambassador to Qatar Susan Ziaheh; regional senior commercial officer for the Gulf and counselor for commercial affairs John Simmons; Robert Bannerman, U.S. consulate general for Dubai; and Tom Kallman, principal commercial officer and president and CEO of U.S. Pavilion organizer Kallman Worldwide. This year’s U.S. contingent includes 45 exhibitors representing 13 U.S.
This year’s Dubai Airshow marks the start of a new era in the event’s growth as one of the key dates in the aviation calendar. Having been under development for several years, the move to a new site here at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport has been accomplished seamlessly. The move not only provides the show with a purpose-built facility with expanded road access, but also frees the former location at the busy Dubai International Airport from the burden of having to shut down airline operations during the daily flying display.
With eight civil airports boasting IATA designations, it’s reasonable to ask why there are so many facilities in a country the size of the UAE. Partly, this is because five of the seven emirates Abu Dhabi (3), Dubai (2), Fujairah (1), Ras al-Khaimah (1) and Sarjah (1) have the demand. The other two–Ajman, at 259 sq km the smallest, and Umm al-Quwain, the least populous–do not.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, the CEO of Flydubai, Dubai’s low-cost carrier, has a reputation for being tight-lipped. Observers would be unwise to mistake this reticence for a lack of activity: Flydubai has been diligent in adding aircraft and routes ever since its first flight to Beirut in 2009 and, as of September, Dubai’s second airline, operated to 66 destinations, from Yekaterinburg in the north to the Maldives in the south, Belgrade in the west and Colombo in the east.
Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai’s second airport, originally planned to accommodate 160 million passengers when complete, will see its development speeded up dramatically if Dubai’s bid to host World Expo 2020 is successful.
Business aviation is set to make a strong showing next week at the Dubai Airshow, with the sector expected to account for about one-third of the 150 aircraft on static display and approximately 220 of the more than 1,000 exhibiting companies. In addition to the airframers, business aviation service providers such as Jet Aviation, ExecuJet Aviation, Royal Jet and Jetex are exhibiting at the event, which opens on Sunday.
Switzerland-based Vertis Aviation will open a Dubai branch of its aviation charter business in January in the Free Zone at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport. Vertis aims to capitalize on the development of business aviation at the airport and build a broader customer network within the countries that form the Gulf Cooperation Council. The office will be run by Catherine Buchanan, who will be responsible for managing the development of the charter brokerage and strengthening the Vertis brand in the region.
Next week’s Dubai Airshow, running from November 17 to 21, is set to provide yet more evidence of the soaring ambitions of the Gulf region’s air carriers, and Boeing’s new 777X twinjet seems set to be the main beneficiary of their relentless fleet expansion plans.
DhabiJet–the FBO at Al Bateen Executive Airport, the only dedicated business aviation airport in the Middle East–has begun offering fueling services to all visiting aircraft at the Abu Dhabi, UAE airfield. It also plans to offer discounted fuel to attract technical stopovers and to encourage more airlines and private jets to use Al Bateen Executive Airport as their hub in the Middle East.