MEBAA Convention News

FIA sees increase in private flights over past two years

 - December 9, 2014, 7:15 AM

Fujairah International Airport (FIA) has seen 176 private flights in the two years since November 2012. Of those, 66 were in 2014, representing a steady increase over earlier periods. The airport signed a seven-year agreement with Switzerland’s Aurora Aviation in 2012 to provide FBO services at FIA.

Charles Hajdu, acting general manager at FIA, told AIN: “Aurora Aviation has developed its general aviation business to include an FBO. It is the exclusive provider for FBO services here at Fujairah International Airport. I am pleased with their performance as we have seen the number of movements related to business and private flights increase by 39 percent [since 2012].” According to Aurora, it has attracted 26 percent more new operators to the airport since it took over.

Thanks to its rising status as a ship-bunkering port, Fujairah is the UAE’s newest boomtown, with fuel tank farms mushrooming to supply storage for oil products. “Bunkering is a major driver [of the airport. Oil and gas executives do use scheduled airlines, but they have their own airplanes as well,” said Hajdu. “Some of the travel involves technical stops; and those are the ones we really want to get. We are not a destination in the sense that Dubai is, but that’s beginning to change because of the oil and development of the Port of Fujairah. We are beginning to see more traffic related to them.”

Today, FIA’s main business streams are cargo, flight training and MRO services for the Russian fleets, although Hajdu is looking to increase activity on the passenger side, as several luxury hotels are situated to the north of Fujairah. “The airport is not just going to be for tourist traffic. It has to be for business and that means we have to provide additional services. That’s key for us, to be able to handle that.”

Abu Dhabi Airports Company and Fujairah’s Directorate of Civil Aviation signed an agreement in July 2014 for a major infrastructure development of the airport, including a runway extension, parallel taxiway/emergency runway and a new control tower. Groundbreaking on the airport developments is set for the third quarter of 2015.

“The alignment of the runway towards the mountains has always been a concern and the combination of a 900-meter (2,953 feet) runway extension to the existing runway length of 3,750 meters (12,303 feet) will provide a performance advantage for departures towards the mountains,” Hajdu said.

“Combined with improved RNAV [area navigation] approach and departure procedures and the implementation of multi-lateration radar, we are fully equipped for all weather situations. A possible ground based augmentation system would also provide enhanced runway approach procedures for our customers.”