The Middle East presents plenty of opportunity for business aviation growth, and at last month’s Abu Dhabi Air Expo businesses reported that their investment in the region–and beyond–is paying dividends.
United Arab Emirates
The wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 racked up yet another city-pair speed record, flying the 6,329-nm trip between Melbourne, Fla., and Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 13 hours and 5 minutes nonstop. It cruised at an average speed of Mach 0.87, carrying five crew and two passengers. Once verified by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association, the record will be the flagship aircraft’s sixth city-pair milestone this year.
Recognizing there is a global lack of qualified aviation technical personnel, Mubadala Aerospace has signed a $1.3 million agreement with UAE University (UAEU) to train the next generation of Emirati technicians to work at Strata’s aircraft composite production facility.
Boeing and Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (Adasi) signed a teaming agreement on February 18 to support Boeing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the UAE, and to help develop that country’s own technical capabilities. The parties signed the agreement at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi.
Jet Aviation Dubai has opened an FBO at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport. The company was granted permission to operate an FBO at the field permanently following its appointment as the dedicated ground handling service provider for MEBA 2012 in December, which was held for the first time at Al Maktoum Airport.
The freshly certified, wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 will make its Middle Eastern public debut at Abu Dhabi Air Expo, which will be held March 5 to 7 at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi. “We are delighted that Gulfstream has chosen [our] expo as the platform from which to premiere its latest aircraft and know it will be of great interest to [show] visitors,” said event director Didier Mary.
Gulfstream plans to have its G450 and G550 on static display at the show as well.
Jetex Flight Support, which provides business aircraft handling services around the world and operates two FBOs in Europe, is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy that could see its FBO holdings triple over the course of this year, the Dubai-based company said at MEBA. According to Jetex president and CEO Adel Mardini, Jetex plans to open FBOs this year at Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), as well as two new locations in Europe and one in the Far East.
The Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show made a strong debut in its new home at the Dubai World Central site, with organizers reporting attendance 20 percent up on the 2010 event at 7,549 trade visitors from 84 countries. The 2012 show drew 385 exhibitors from 45 countries, a 14-percent boost on the previous event.
In a prelude to the business aviation community’s anticipated migration to Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport (Dubai World Central, DWC), the 2012 Middle East Business Aviation show was staged there for the first time last month (December 11-13).
The African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) is close to rounding out its roster of founding members with the announcement that Hadid International Services has been selected as its penultimate charter member. According to the organization, the UAE-based flight support services provider was invited to join as a result of its strong reputation for delivering exceptional services, its existing presence in Africa and its ongoing commitment to developing business aviation in the region. AfBAA expects to announce its 20th and final founding member soon.