MEBA: Fujairah prepares to select operator for FBO

Singapore
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Fujairah International airport is close to picking an operator for its executive aviation terminal in January as part of efforts to promote itself as a regional business jet centre.

It is evaluating four companies that are bidding to operate the 312m2 (3,360ft2) facility, which was opened a month ago, says general manager Khaled Almazroui. The company will use its international network and experience to attract corporate jets to the emirate.

"There are 50% more participants at this show than the previous one, and that means more people are into business jets for the privacy and convenience. We want more of that business in Fujairah," says Almazroui.

Landing, parking, ground-handling and fuel charges are 50% lower than in Dubai and 30% less than in Sharjah, he says. There is virtually no air traffic congestion when landing or taking off, and Fujairah airport prides itself on its quick turnaround times, he adds.

In July 2011 a new national highway that links Fujairah to the United Arab Emirates' financial centre Dubai will be ready. That will cut down the travel time between the two cities to around 35min from 90min, he says.

These factors could help Fujairah vis-à-vis the air traffic and ground traffic delays that can plague users of private jets who land in Dubai.

"When they fly in, they prefer not to hold for around 40min due to congestion at the airport. They want to take off and land when they want to. They want to get to their destination as soon as possible. Time is the most important factor for businessman, and Fujairah can be a base for those who want to go to Dubai," says Almazroui.

Fujairah also hopes to use these advantages, and its facilities, to attract aircraft that need technical stops. "There is ample aircraft parking space in-front of the FBO, and the crew amenities are similar to luxurious homes. There are also five-star hotels close by for the passengers, if they need them," he says.

In the longer term, Fujairah is also trying to promote itself as a tourist destination. It is the only emirate that is almost totally mountainous, and there are white sand beaches in its northern coast on the Gulf of Oman. It has several five-star hotels there, and plans are under way to construct a luxurious resort with around 1,000 five-star villas.

"These could also attract more leisure travellers to Fujairah, especially those from the region who use private jets to go to holiday destinations," he adds.