Gama plans Beirut facility and maps global expansion

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Business aviation services provider Gama Aviation plans to open a base in Beirut in the first half of next year to take advantage of burgeoning demand for business aircraft in the Middle East and Asian markets.

Gama's foray into the Lebanon is part of a wider strategy by the UK-headquartered company to expand globally and establish its core competencies - aircraft management, charter, maintenance, engineering, and handling services - within each of its bases.

"Our aim is to increase our capability, service offering and know-how, and create centres of excellence across the group," said Gama chief executive Marwan Khalek. "We also plan to expand our global footprint," he added.

Gama has bases in the USA, the UK and the Middle East where, at this week's Dubai air show, it announced plans to open a facility in Saudi Arabia.

The Jeddah-based venture will be its second operation in the region when it opens early next year. Gama's first base opened three years ago in the Emirate of Sharjah, from where it offers a host of business aviation services including aircraft management, charter and maintenance.

Gama also plans to build a fixed-base operation on the site when economic conditions are more favourable, Khalek said.

The Middle East continues to provide rich pickings for Gama and Lebanese capital Beirut will be home for its third base in the region.

"Beirut has become a very busy hub for business aviation and traffic volumes are on the increase here," said Khalek. "I will be disappointed if we are not up and running in the first half of next year," he added.

The next 12 months should also mark Gama's first foray into the Asia Pacific market. "We plan to establish a corporate structure in Hong Kong next year," Khalek said.