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Tue 7 Dec 2010 09:57 AM

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Business aviation grows as commercial travel costs increase

Al Bateen Executive Airport completes $170m upgrade in anticipation of a busy 2011

Business aviation grows as commercial travel costs increase
SECTOR GROWTH: The business aviation sector is set to grow as the costs of commercial travel increase

Business aviation stands to grow as travelers grow wary of time-consuming safety procedures at commercial airports and as the costs of traveling commercially continues to rise.

“People are migrating to business aviation,” Stephen Jones, general manager at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport, said in an interview with Arabian Business.

According to Jones, it can often cost as much to fly five business people in and out of a city by commercial first class as it would to charter a jet.

He said that in 2011 the business aviation market would be driven by people who saw the time saved by private aviation – sparing travelers the safety procedures and delays of commercial flight – as an advantage.

Al Bateen, the GCC’s only business aviation airport, put itself on par with leading international airports this week by completing a $170 million instrumental landing system upgrade, which will lead to increased runway capacity and expansion of the airport, used by business jets.

Jones said it had about 1500 flight movements in 2010.

In order to thrive in the coming year, “we need entrepreneurial and charter plane companies to come to this airport,” Jones said. “Business aviation is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the market.”

The improvements to the runway at Al Bateen are part of a long-term infrastructure development plan that will “increase capacity – we can handle more inbound aircraft and land safely in low visibility,” Jones said. “They will place it on the world map.”

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