Gama Group, one of the UK's longest-established business aviation operators, is recruiting for its new operation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Awarded its UAE air operator's certificate earlier this year, it has three Bombardier Challengers on its books - a 604, 605 and 850 - and is building a fixed-base operation in the emirate, which neighbours Dubai.

"Over the next six months, we're expecting to add an additional three aircraft and with that will come further recruitment," says Dave Edwards, managing director of the new Middle East division.

Although Gama tends to promote from within wherever possible - relocating a director of flight operations, director of maintenance and quality manager from its European operation - the company has been taking on pilots, flight attendants and other support staff for its team in Sharjah.

"The focus on safety and security is the main driver within the organisation, and we're on course to standardise our procedures as much as possible in our global operations, so pilots who are willing to embrace and be part of an strong international safety culture are our ideal potential employees," says Edwards.

Gama was founded 27 years ago and has a fleet of more than 75 jets from the Bombardier Learjet 45 to the Boeing Business Jet. It claims to be the only business aviation group to hold air operator certificates in Europe, North America, Bermuda and the Middle East.

For Marwan Abdel Khalek, the firm's founder and chief executive, setting up in the Middle East has been a long-held ambition. "I always aimed to expand into the region where I spent my childhood," he says. "The Middle East has always been of central importance to us, so the development here is a natural progression for the group. While we're new to the region as a based operator, we're certainly not new to the market."

Adds Edwards: "There's a great atmosphere and excitement among the team here as we expand the business with increasing opportunities for everyone, which brings its own rewards, on top of good employment terms and benefits. The UAE is a great place to live with an excellent quality of life, even in the height of the summer."

Source: Flight International