Business aviation traffic began moving from Dubai International Airport, (DXB) the world’s second busiest airport, to nearby Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC) earlier this year and the transition is now accelerating fast. DXB is full, it is impossible at times to get a non-scheduled slot, and the 80 day business aviation ban next year has spurred FBO/Maintenance suppliers, aircraft operators and owners to start switching airports before the runway closures next year.
FBO and maintenance giants Jet Aviation and ExecuJet have started operations at DWC; Jet Aviation in January and ExecuJet in April, and both operate from the General Aviation Terminal (GAT). Both also have major operations at DXB. Jetex Flight Support went operational from this same building just a few days before the Dubai Air Show with X Jet expected to move in next. According to Mike Berry, managing director of ExecuJet Middle East, Jet Aviation and ExecuJet are already handling up to 300 movements per month between them.
DC Aviation-Al Futtaim (DCAF), the FBO/Maintenance and charter company, which is a joint venture between Germany’s DC Aviation and Al Futtaim of Dubai, has built its own FBO and hangar at DWC. It completed the building stage of its 5,700-sq-m hangar and 1,300-sq m plush VIP passenger lounges in September and went operational on October 31.
Aircraft operators are being actively persuaded to use DWC, says Ali Al Naqbi, Founding Chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association. “Although some people say that DWC is too far away from the center of Dubai, road traffic congestion makes traveling times much the same from either airport and in fact DWC has the advantage of being closer to the Jumeira area. DWC is currently building a larger permanent facility for the four GAT companies, but it will take two years to complete. Many other companies are also showing interest in opening at DWC,” says Al Naqbi.