DUBAI: Rizon Jet plans second European base at Paris Le Bourget

Dubai
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Rizon Jet, the Qatar-based high-end business jet charter, management and fixed-base operator (FBO), is pressing ahead with plans for its second European FBO, at Paris Le Bourget airport. This comes six months after the full opening of its FBOs at Doha and London Biggin Hill.

"We are in negotiations with Le Bourget and if everything goes well we will be open for business in 2014," said Harold Stoddard, acting chief executive at the Doha facility, speaking on the eve of the show.

The Doha site is the only full-service FBO in the Qatari capital, while Biggin Hill is the first FBO in Europe to be run by a Middle Eastern operator. Both have hangars capable of housing several business jets and upmarket, Arabic-themed lounges. Rizon has invested $50 million in both sites, said Stoddard.

Stoddard maintained that Rizon, which was founded in 2006, is continuing to do well in a crowded Gulf market in which it competes with Qatar Airways' own corporate jet arm as well as several charter and management providers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

"Our strategy is to provide seven-star service with unparalleled facilities to match," he said. "There are key clients in this region who demand excellence. This is not so commonplace in aviation. What you have here is a lot of customers who jump from one provider to another."

Rizon manages four aircraft under its Qatari air operator's certificate: a Bombardier Global Express XRS and two Challenger 605s, and a Hawker 900XP. All but the Global are available for charter. A sister company, Oryx Jet, in Biggin Hill, manages a Hawker 900XP and Premier IA.

Stoddard said Rizon has carried 2,000 passengers since the FBOs have come fully on stream. It has recruited six aircraft technicians at Doha and has "two slots to fill". The company has approval to carry out maintenance on Challengers and Hawkers in Doha and should add the Global family to its list in the first quarter of 2012.

London and Paris are popular destinations for wealthy Qataris and other Arabs, many of whom have property interests and educate their children in Europe, and take long breaks to escape the searing summer heat of the Gulf.

Rizon is owned by Qatari businessman Ghanim Bin Saad al-Saad, whose GSSG Holdings portfolio includes construction, property, hospitality and education.