By Karen Leigh
Rise in airport traffic signals that slumping private aviation industry back on track
In a sign that private aviation in the UAE has recovered from a two-year slump, Al Bateen Executive Airport, the only business aviation airport in the Gulf, posted a 36 percent rise in aviation movements in 2010 compared to the previous year.
There were 7,970 movements in 2010.
Al Jaber Aviation, Falcon Aviation, Prestige Jet and XO Jet are currently based at Al Bateen, under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company.
The only private airport in the world whose technical capabilities are on par with commercial airports, it opened in 2008 and unveiled its revamped technological capabilities in December as the industry struggled to get back on its feet after a post-recession downturn left charter limping.
“After November of ’08 there was a major downfall in charter,” said Dave Edwards, managing director of the Gamma Group, whose UK-based Gama Aviation established a separate Middle East arm in 2010. “Most operators saw a 40 percent [fall in their sales] after November ’08 – we’re starting to see a lift now.”
The airport has attracted corporate clients through revamped facilities including conference rooms in the terminal and plans for an on-site hotel and hangars.
“Exceptional facilities and competitive pricing structures, combined with Abu Dhabi's developing calendar of international events, made 2010 a transformational year in the airport's history,” said Steve Jones, Al Bateen's general manager.
In January, Al Bateen reduced its landing fees by 35 percent and parking fees by 17 percent in an attempt to lure more traffic.
Airport traffic has increased on the back of high-profile Abu Dhabi events, including the providing of free landing and parking services during the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Grand Prix in November, and looks to increase further in 2011.
The private jet aviation has emerged in this year, as most of the businessmen wants to fly quickly and visit multiple locations in a day, where as the commercial wont allow such features.