Al bateen puts team in place to create farnborough of middle east

Al Bateen Airport is putting the finishing touches to the management team it needs to transform itself from a 50-year-old air base to what it describes as the Farnborough of the Middle East.

Pauline Smith - formerly of ExecuJet in Dubai - has joined the Abu Dhabi Airports (ADAC)-owned facility as manager of Al Bateen's fixed-base operation. She joins general manager Stephen Jones, recruited from the UK's Oxford airport last year to head the $150 million investment project, including a revamped VIP passenger terminal.

As well as new hangars and parking for up to 90 aircraft and apron enhancements, plans include a luxury hotel. The airport is already home to the Gulf Centre for Aviation Studies, which aims to train locals to fill roles in Abu Dhabi's expanding aviation sector.

Although "Emiratisation" - creating skilled career paths for its own citizens - is a key plank of Abu Dhabi's aerospace strategy, it will need dozens of professionals from overseas to fill executive posts in the medium term.

Al Bateen is being marketed as the Middle East's only dedicated business aviation airport and an edge-of-town alternative to Abu Dhabi's international airport.

Source: Flight International