Support on the ground

An increase in local maintenance facilities is making life easier for the Middle East’s business jet owners.

  • E-Mail
By  David Ingham Published  February 6, 2006

The regional business jet market is booming as governments, businesses and affluent individuals discover the benefits of unscheduled, private flights. There are currently estimated to be around 200-250 corporate jets in the Middle East region with industry professionals speaking of an upturn in the industry over the last year and strong prospects for future growth. “I think the Middle East has shown a sustained upswing and the indications are that it’s still on the up,” says Mike Berry, managing director of ExecuJet Middle East. “We see a large opportunity for new aircraft acquisition.” Until recently, business jet owners had one small problem: There were few local facilities that could take care of their maintenance needs. That would normally mean flying planes all the way to Europe to perform the regular maintenance checks specified by plane manufacturers. The recent appearance of local business jet maintenance centres, accredited by manufacturers, has provided a boost to the regional market. Jet Airways, for example, now has business jet hangars and maintenance shops in Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait and Riyadh. Towards the end of November, Boeing Business Jets officially appointed Jet Aviation Dubai as a BBJ authorised service centre. Jet Aviation Dubai, which opened its maintenance and FBO facility in May 2005, will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services as well as warranty work to BBJ owners. “It was important for us to receive the BBJ authorised service centre status. We are now able to not only support our own management customers who own BBJ aircraft but to also serve the growing number of BBJs in the region,” said Philip Balmer, senior vice president and general manager of Jet Aviation Dubai. The new BBJ centre brings the total number of Jet Aviation’s BBJ authorised service centres to four, including the company’s locations in Singapore and Basel and Geneva, Switzerland. Jet Aviation Dubai was the first executive aviation maintenance facility to open at the Dubai International Airport. It boasts a total of 4,200 square meters (45,192 square feet) of hangar space, a workshop area of 1,000 square meters (10,760 square feet), and a two storey FBO building with an area of 1,050 square meters (11,300 square feet). The facility is also an authorised service center for Rockwell Collins as well as of Dassault’s Falcon 900 and 2000 series. The acquisition of Boeing authorised service centre status comes as Boeing is beginning to make some noise about a planned new Business Jet based on the Next-Generation 737-900ER. The business jet version of the 737-900ER will reportedly offer 35% more cabin space than the BBJ and 11% more cabin space than the BBJ 2. The new product will be named the BBJ 3. “BBJ customers value range capability and cabin size and this product offering enhances both attributes of the BBJ family,” said Steven Hill, president, Boeing Business Jets. Having maintenance facilities on the ground in the region is a big boon for business jet owners, according to ExecuJet’s Mike Berry. “According to manufacturers, aircraft have to comply with certain maintenance checks along the lifecycle of the aircraft,” he explains. “It’s stipulated that after so many hours [of flight] it must undergo certain checks. It’s not like motor vehicles where the manufacturer recommends every 10,000 kilometres, but you skip it; this effects the air worthiness of the aircraft and the market value of the aircraft. It’s a very regulated environment on the maintenance side.” In late December, ExecuJet Middle East and Bombardier Aerospace opened the first Bombardier Factory Authorised Service Centre in the Middle East. The facility offers a full range of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, critical spare parts and warranty services for the region’s Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft customers. “For the product that we support, the Bombardier range, every aircraft owner, prior to this facility being established, has had to fly his aircraft to Europe for maintenance. If he had an aircraft on the ground and it needed a part, it had to be flown in from North America or Europe,” he explains. “Now, we have a full spare parts depot with over 800 product lines, so we can get a part to the market very quickly. Having this large facility on your doorstep saves you thousands in positioning costs.” ExecuJet says the service centre will support the growing demand amongst businessmen in the Middle East for secure and efficient business jet travel. The centre caters to both ground-based needs and has the infrastructure required for maintenance services. It has also been designed to provide high level security and privacy, according to ExecuJet. The centre includes 24,000 square feet (2,230 sq m) of hangar space and two maintenance bays that can accommodate two large Global Express XRS long-range business jets and two Challenger aircraft at the same time. It is staffed by more than 50 full-time trained engineers, technicians, crew and support staff and offers 24-hour Aircraft On Ground (AOG) maintenance and part support. The adjacent 2,800 square feet (260 sq m) service parts depot will house over 860 high-demand parts for Learjer, Challenger and Global aircrafts and will be open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. ExecuJet aims to sell aircraft as part of an aviation solution. This includes a management element where maintenance planners track usage and even forecast how many hours a plane is likely to have flown, based on known usage schedules. Planners can then inform clients when the next scheduled check should take place and what level of check is required. Execujet Middle East will make sure that all the right logistics and resources are in place to ensure that maintenance checks are swift and effective. Niall Olver, chief executive officer of ExecuJet Aviation Group, says: “This impressive facility represents another key step in our relationship with Bombardier Aerospace, and we are delighted to offer Middle Eastern customers superior capabilities, and services that we routinely provide Bombardier operators in other parts of the world.” More and more maintenance facilities are opening up in the region and proving themselves worthy of manufacturers’ official accreditations. For the region’s business jet owners, that can only mean increasing levels of service.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code