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Dubai’s FBOs Business is good at Dubai’s International Airport.

The underlying concern of the two privately owned FBOs at Dubai’s International Airport is the uncertainty of the airport’s fate once the new- recently renamed- Al Maktoum International Airport at Jebel Ali becomes fully operational. Investment still continues at Dubai’s International Airport and both ExecuJet Middle East and Jet Aviation Dubai are hoping rumors that it will become a purely business aviation airport are right- so that clients will have a choice of destinations. Al Maktoum- 25 miles away- will have its own specialist FBO and MRO area known as the Executive Jet Center- but it is feared that transportation between the two might not keep apace.

At 140 square kilometers- and costing $33 billion- the new airport and city complex at Jebel Ali will be the world’s largest. The first of six parallel runways has been completed and the first scheduled services are due next June. At the new Executive Jet Center there are already plans for 52 building plots and eight are Airbus A380 sized.

Mike Berry- the MD of ExecuJet Middle East- which is partnered with Bombardier here- said- “We hold a prime location at Dubai International Airport but all the land here has been developed and ramp space is virtually full. We see Al Maktoum as an extension of our business and the authorities have dramatically increased the amount of land available to build FBOs- MROs- and hangarage plots there.”

He explained ExecuJet has applied for hangar facilities and plans to build a permanent facility which would take a lot of the overflow from its current base. “We also see it as a great opportunity to expand our maintenance capability. I can foresee a lot of hangars going up there with many used purely for parking business aircraft out of the sun. We’ve been told that Al Maktoum’s Executive Jet Center area will be operational from the first half of 2009 and we await further information.”

Jet Aviation Dubai’s senior vice president and general manager Philip Balmer says Jet Aviation is in touch with the situation down at Al Maktoum but underlines that- like ExecuJet and Bombardier- his company has invested a lot of money at Dubai International.

“We’d like to operate from here as long as possible-” he revealed. “Al Maktoum will take a long time to develop fully and the problem- like any major city sized development- will be its infrastructure keeping pace with the drivers. Discussions are ongoing with the authorities but we’re not necessarily going to build there.”

ExecuJet Middle East
ExecuJet’s Berry continued- “A year ago we were going through dramatic growth and our plan was to consolidate that growth. We couldn’t have known that that growth curve would continue to climb between 33-50%. So we’re not really getting a chance to consolidate.” ExecuJet opened its majestic VIP passenger lounge in February this year and it is proving very popular.

“Since we opened [two years ago]- handling has doubled on the back of an increasingly buoyant economic outlook for corporate aviation business in many countries in the region- especially Kuwait- Saudi Arabia- Egypt and Dubai-” said Berry. The facility is currently handling up to 80-90 aircraft a month. It has 14 aircraft under management- “By the end of February we should add another five aircraft including a Challenger 850- two Learjet 60XRs and a Challenger 605- and by June we should have up to 25 aircraft. Hopefully by November 2008 we should be at 30 aircraft-” said Berry.

It is expecting its full EASA Maintenance Approval within a month covering all European registered aircraft coming through the region. “Offering full support is what is going to pay off-” said Berry. “Likewise we are looking at India and already hold a limited Pakistani approval.”

Jet Aviation Dubai
According to Balmer- Dubai has become the business aviation hub in the region which is why more aircraft owners are registering here. More charter operators are setting up as a result too- he commented.

In February this year the FBO received EASA approval and gained Dassault Falcon authorized service center status. More Dassault Falcon business jets for sale are appearing in the Middle East and there are a lot more on order in the region.

“A brand new 900EX EASy has just arrived- a 900DX is due in the next few weeks and there is a 7X going into Saudi-” revealed Balmer. “We perform NetJets Middle East maintenance support for National Air Services which has orders for 20 Falcon 2000LXs- 20 Hawker 750s and 20 Gulfstream G450s- including options.”

The FBO is also a Boeing authorized service center for the BBJs- Gulfstream G300- G400- GIV and GVs as well as for the Hawker 800 series aircraft. It has a service center agreement with Airbus which links the facility to the Airbus customer service organization. A full service deal with Embraer is pending- but Jet Aviation already carries out warranty work on Legacy 600 aircraft.

Balmer says he holds around $10 million worth of consumables and spare parts for his represented aircraft types. The FBO handles some of the large corporate jets and as Balmer says- “We live in a region where clients love baggage and it’s not uncommon to have eight passengers come off a BBJ with 150 pieces of baggage – I’m not exaggerating!”

Executive Flight Service
Dubai State owned Executive Flight Service has an FBO on the south east corner- and a second opening shortly close to ExecuJet and Jet Aviation on the north side. Its original spectacular FBO passenger terminal- which only opened 15 months ago- is positioned close to the airport’s Expo site- and boasts 15 VIP passenger lounges as well as a huge VVIP Royal lounge. From the end of November passengers using Silverjet’s business-class-only service out of Luton- UK- will be sampling the delights of this sparkling building.

The new north side facility will have its own VIP lounges and will focus on Emirates’ VIP customers as a special transfer terminal for those who wish to complete their journeys via executive jets.

ExecuJet’s Berry believes his soon-to-open next door neighbor- will be good for his ramp maintenance support business. “We already have a very good relationship with EFS-” he observed.

More information from www.dubaiairport.com- www.execujet.net or www.jetaviation.com

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