Philippe Gerard, FBO director for Jet Aviation in Dubai, said yesterday that the new FBO opened last Friday and has already processed 200 crew and about 45 passengers. “We are looking to move 50 percent of our traffic from Dubai International to Dubai World Central, or 150 to 200 flights a month, when we become fully operational,” he said.
“We will give a choice to passengers between DXB and DWC. Those travelling to Atlantis, The Palm or Burj Al Arab will find our DWC facilities convenient and easily accessible. We can get slots at any time of day,” he said.
Gerard thinks the choice they face is simple. “You need to decide whether to have the airplane holding [before landing] for 45 minutes or spend 25 minutes more in your car…there is a huge blockage on slots at 14-Zulu [1400 UTC] to 20-Zulu [2000 UTC] atDXB every day. High volumes there mean that aircraft face 30 to 45 minutes [delay] before being able to land. Even outside that period, landing is not easy,” he said.
“Most [adjacent] destinations take only 15 to 20 minutes from DWC. At five o’clock in the afternoon, the drive to Burj Al Arab from DXB can take one hour,” he said. “DXB is very congested and getting worse every day. At rates of delivery, Emirates and flydubai need two more parking spaces every month. Jet Aviation’s FBO at DXB has five parking slots available.”
The beauty of the new 2,000-sq-m DWC facility is that it faces no parking restrictions at all. “It takes passengers 5-10 minutes maximum to pass through immigration, police and customs,” said Gerard.
He believes that MEBA 2012 has been crucial to clarifying the position of the Government of Dubai on business aviation. For two years, business-jet operators in the emirate have complained about official obfuscation regarding the status of business aviation and where its final home would be.
“In a sense, the MEBA show has made [business aviation’s move from DXB to DWC] official. Suddenly, [at MEBA] they opened everything up,” he explained. “The government has been extremely helpful. The dam has broken. The policy is not just ‘We are open for MEBA 2012.’ It is ‘We are open’.”
Jet Aviation has FBOs in Saudi Arabia at Jeddah, Riyadh and Medina, and small MROfacilities at Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah.