Business aviation traffic increased 70% over 2012Gama Aviation FZE continues to enjoy strong growth at its MENA home base, Sharjah International Airport, reporting a 70% increase in the number of business aviation movements in 2013 compared with 2012. The regional arm of the global business aviation services company has been instrumental in expanding the airport’s activity in business aviation and is on schedule to unveil its brand new dedicated FBO Terminal this year.
During the second quarter it hopes to have completed the new passenger and crew lounges, which have been designed and will be finished to a very high standard, in line with the requirements of discerning Middle Eastern clientele.
“Our aim is to build on the already significant progress we have made these past two years of operating the FBO. We have had encouraging feedback which we have used to incorporate into the plans for the new facility and are very excited to unveil the end product, especially considering the increased efficiencies it will lend to our FBO team. The new facility will bring huge benefits for crew members, including rest areas, briefing space and convenient ramp access,” commented Richard Lineveldt, General Manager MENA for Gama Aviation. “Clients are increasingly attracted by our friendly and polished service, dedicated business jet parking and generous hangar space, as well as the fact that there are no slot restrictions in place for the airport which operates 24/7 - all being offered at competitive rates.”
Gama Aviation and Sharjah International Airport are poised to handle a considerable amount of additional traffic when Dubai International’s extensive runway works commence from 1 May this year. “A number of business jets have already committed to move over to Sharjah during that period and we are working with industry partners and airport stakeholders to prepare for the increased demand,” says Lineveldt. “We want the industry to know that we are ready to support fellow operators and flight support agencies.”
The company has also rolled out a staggered hiring strategy since the start of 2014 in order to ensure it has the capacity in May to maintain its excellent service levels. The staffing levels at the Sharjah FBO are planned to effectively double by May 2014. Gama Aviation is also working with the airport to secure additional, dedicated, ground support equipment.
It is already proud of its 30-minute turnaround times and the nature of Sharjah operations - where clients are picked up by executive car directly from the aircraft - meaning that six minutes after landing they can be on their way. Sharjah International is a well located and stress-free gateway to Dubai and the Northern Emirates, 25 minutes’ drive to Dubai International Financial Centre or 30 minutes to Ras Al Khaimah.
“After considerable investment in improving the facilities for business jets at Sharjah International our FBO service offering now includes aircraft maintenance, gourmet catering, refrigerated storage units, premium lounges and a Royal Majlis, fast fuelling capabilities, an onsite business hotel and a new international newspaper service, which comes on line from 1st March. Ground transportation is also important and we work closely with a reputable luxury transport supplier to provide limousines for our visiting VIP passengers,” added Gama Aviation’s MENA Commercial Manager Oliver Hewson.
Gama Aviation took over the responsibility for all business aviation handling at Sharjah International Airport in early 2012 in a partnership with Sharjah Airport Authority, but the company has been present in Sharjah as a charter operator since 2006. Gama Aviation’s expansion at Sharjah International builds on its United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority approval of its CAR Part 145 Aircraft Maintenance Approval. The Sharjah facility is large enough for Boeing BBJ and Airbus ACJ aircraft, both of which are already in the company’s managed fleet and it is securing more hangar space at the airport.
Gama Aviation adds Hawker 800XP to managed charter fleet
Complementing the significant growth in its FBO activity, the Gama Aviation charter fleet has also expanded with the recent arrival of a Hawker 800XP to its managed charter fleet and now based out of Sharjah International. This mid-size jet is now available from its base in Sharjah International Airport. Gama Aviation has another base in the UAE at Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi, home to an Embraer Legacy 600 which is also available for charter.
The Legacy 600 is an especially attractive aircraft for Middle East clients with its two separate cabin zones that allow for increased privacy for up to 13 passengers, plus the largest baggage compartment in its class.