These numbers were further boosted by a significant increase in ramp activity during the 2012 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix last November. Movements increased by 60% compared with the previous year, and the airport experienced its busiest ramp activity since it began focusing on the executive aviation sector just over three years ago.
The previous 12 months also saw a number of significant business developments for the FBO which have contributed to its success. A formal partnership with in-flight caterer Gate Gourmet came to fruition as the Swiss headquartered business opened the ninth branch of its Executive Gourmet division at Al Bateen. The company, which is dedicated to providing bespoke in-flight catering for executive aviation, has been working with DhabiJet since March 2011 when DhabiJet launched but it formally inaugurated its 770 square meter facility on 5th February 2013. Gate Gourmet is now the exclusive caterer for all DhabiJet Flights providing elite catering services on a 24/7 basis.
Tenant companies at Al Bateen are also supporting the development of the FBO's business activity. In October 2012 DhabiJet signed an MOU with Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) for the provision of high end cleaning services to all aircraft visiting the airport. Previously FAS cleaned just their own aircraft, but this new agreement enables DhabiJet to offer high quality valet services to all aircraft arriving at Al Bateen. A dedicated covered cleaning bay is situated next to the new FAS hangar enabling convenient access for crew even whilst the aircraft is being cleaned. External, internal and specific detailing are all available under the terms of the joint understanding.
Expanding business aviation operator Rotana Jet received two Embraer Legacy 600 aircraft in 2011 and these two aircraft are now flying regular shuttle flights between Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas/Delma Islands as well as to Fujairah. With its high frequency services Rotana Jet has contributed a 600% growth to DhabiJet's handling activities. In addition, a 50-seat Airbus A319ER is now available for private charter with the capability to fly non-stop between Al Bateen and destinations including London, Johannesburg or Singapore.
DhabiJet's contemporary crew lounge which opened in March 2011 has been relocated to the airside area of the FBO so improving ease of access for crew who need to have direct access to aircraft. Complementing DhabiJet's stylish interiors, Al Bateen staff now wear uniforms, that reflect the brand and ethos of DhabiJet in addition to making them easily identifiable for customers passing through.
DhabiJet voted second in EBAN FBO surveyDhabiJet's consistent performance and client focus has resulted in the FBO winning second place in this year's prestigious annual FBO survey conducted by European Business Air News magazine (up from fourth last year). Over 1,700 FBOs, handlers and agents are offered on the voting forms and readers ( aircraft owners, pilots and ops managers) - can vote for those from whom they have received outstanding service. Marios Belidis, DhabiJet Senior FBO Manager, attributes the accolade to a great team spirit, energy and dedication to adapt to each customer's needs. "We are constantly focused on delivering a high quality of service to what is a very discerning clientele," he notes.
At Air Expo this week DhabiJet will maximize the exhibition to further promote its services to visiting delegates. Belidis is hoping to encourage more owners to base their aircraft at Al Bateen and this is a key priority to stimulate this sector of the business. DhabiJet is also making the most of the expanding Asian market. Last year saw a dramatic increase of flights originating in India and China using Al Bateen for tech stops and Belidis anticipates a further increase through 2013.
In addition, plans are in place for further commercial opportunities including the leasing of more hangar space, serviced offices and storage space. "Whilst we've had a challenging but successful 2012 we now want to build on these strong foundations this year," concluded Belidis.