Mark Hannant/DUBAI

Shell is flying at Dubai 2000 - on the wings of a Sukhoi Su-29. The Su-29, sporting the Shell red and yellow pecten, appears in the daily display flown by Rehan Van Tonder who's taking time out from his day job as a pilot with Emirates.

Shell has had a presence at Dubai International Airport since it opened in 1979 and has been praised for its role in the region by HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and chairman of Emirates.

Major refueller

Speaking as Dubai 2000 got under way Sheikh Ahmed said: "Shell has a presence in most parts of the world to which Emirates travel and is a major refueller of Emirates globally, refuelling some 35% of our needs. Fuel costs can amount to 35% of an airline's expenditure. It is imperative, therefore to ensure that these costs are well managed and that the refuellers we use are reliable. I can certainly say that we have that assurance with Shell."

The Royal Dutch/Shell Group reorganised its aviation interests in 1997 into a new global business, Shell Aviation. Organised as a cluster covering 27 countries in the region, Shell Aviation, Middle East and South Asia imports jet fuel from the Saudi Aramco Shell refinery at Al Jubail into its Arabian Gulf Terminal in Dubai. From there it is piped directly to Dubai International Airport and distributed by road to Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah International Airports.

Shell Aviation has had to contend with the regional downturn in the aviation industry caused by last year's Asian economic crisis and the collapse of the Russian rouble.

But Anton Bray, Shell Aviation general manager, Middle East and South Asia says there are signs of improvement. "We hope that with the recent upward surges in oil prices and signs of economic growth in the Far East, the business will improve."

Source: Flight Daily News