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MEBA: Al Bateen drops charges to woo new business

Al Bateen Executive Airport has slashed the cost of flying in and out of the Abu Dhabi-based business aviation hub by more than a third in an effort to attract new customers to the Middle East's only dedicated business aviation airport.

"Landing fees have been cut by 36% and parking charges by 17%," says Al Bateen general manager Steve Jones. "Let's not kid ourselves," he continues. "Competition for business is very tough within this region so we have to offer the best service at the best price in order to win and retain customers. The days when you could just sit back and let the business come to you have gone."

Al Bateen offered free landing and parking to operators during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month, an experience Jones says has helped to raise awareness of the airport. "This strengthened our belief in offering the best level of service at the best prices," says Jones.

Al Bateen owner, Abu Dhabi Airports (ADAC), has invested almost $50 million in turning the 50-year-old military airport into a luxury business aviation gateway that already boasts a VVIP passenger terminal.

A further $300 million has been allocated for the airport's long-term development that includes new hangar, apron and runway enhancements, retail facilities and a hotel. Al Bateen is also keen to attract maintenance, repair and overhaul companies.

ADAC is forecasting commercial movements of 8,000 for the full 12 months to December 2010, an increase of over 30% compared with 2009. ADAC is projecting almost 12,000 commercial movements at the airport by 2014, the result of a combination of organic and based fleet growth.

Al Bateen is home to Al Jaber Aviation, XO Jet, Prestige Jet and Falcon Aviation Services with a combined fleet of around 30 business jets and helicopters.

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