Rizon gambles on London and Gulf recoveries

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Middle East executive charter start-up Rizon is banking on London and the Gulf being among the first markets to begin recovering from the downturn later this year. The Bahrain-based company has begun work on a fixed-base operation and hangar in Doha, Qatar, similar in size to its new facility at Biggin Hill airport near the UK capital, which opens in September.

The Doha base, the country's first FBO, will be completed early next year, and the entire building will be dismantled and moved from the city's current airport to the site of the new Doha International airport, when it opens in 2011.

Rizon, which this month will add six aircraft, taking the size of its managed fleet to seven, hopes that its twin FBOs will allow it to capture regional business from London as well as a large proportion of the private aviation traffic between Doha and the UK or other European cities.

Chief executive Will Curtis says that, while business aviation traffic has fallen since Rizon began its expansion late last year, the company is "well positioned to catch the upturn". He adds: "We hope the recovery will commence late this year as we open the doors to our new facilities in the UK and Qatar."