Dubai-based global FBO operator Jetex expects to win a major share of Expo 2020 business jet traffic over the course of the six-month event after it claimed to have handled almost two-thirds, or at least 62 percent, of the over 8,000 flights at its VIP Terminal facility at Dubai South in the first half of this year, with over 5,000 movements.
“In terms of the additional Expo traffic, my forecast is that we will facilitate more than 3,000 additional flights, which is more than 500 flights every month, in addition to the usual busy traffic,” Adel Mardini, founder and CEO, told AIN in an interview on the eve of the event. “I am confident that we will see many Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jets at the terminal, which is a great business opportunity for Jetex—and we are very well prepared for this increase in operations.”
In the past 12 months, and in expectation of a major Expo throughput increase, Jetex increased its VIP Terminal staff from 55 to more than 100. The official FBO Partner of Dubai Airshow 2021, Jetex expects a large number of official delegations, including heads of states, to travel to Dubai to participate in the National Day celebrations that several countries plan to host as part of the Expo program.
“The Jetex VIP Terminal is the closest and most convenient airport to the Expo 2020 site,” Mardini said. “With almost 200 country pavilions, Jetex expects to welcome at least 100 official delegations during the six months of the event.”
With the FIFA World Cup 2022 now only a year away, Jetex expects a substantial proportion of match attendees to stay in Dubai, fly to attend games in Qatar, and then travel back on the same day. “Qatar Executive will offer exclusive event services, including ground handling, but they [will] definitely require additional capacity as we forecast up to 200 private-jet flights a day,” he explained.
Mardini expects 50 percent of private jet travelers attending the World Cup to be based in Dubai and conduct same-day trips to Doha and back. “Due to the limited aircraft parking space at Doha, some flights will only offer drop-off and pick-up. Some aircraft will then come back to Dubai or continue to Bahrain or Muscat solely for parking."
With the resumption of flights between Saudi Arabia and the UAE on September 8, Mardini expressed optimism about growing traffic on a traditionally busy route. In Oman, Jetex projects a presence at Muscat International Airport, where it hopes to build a new FBO, and at Salalah International Airport. “We have exceptional facilities in both locations and look forward to welcoming more flights in the near future,” he said.
A two-month runway upgrade at Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) in preparation for increases in traffic for Expo 2020 Dubai disrupted movements this summer. “On some days, the closure lasted for up to 12 hours, which inevitably affected flight schedules,” he said. “However, I am pleased to confirm that the works have been completed.”
In June, Jetex signed a deal with the American Hospital Dubai to launch a new healthcare program for international patients. "The agreement augments Dubai’s medical tourism, operating at the intersection of private aviation and medical urgencies," it said at the time.
Jetex works with a number of medevac operators to ensure patients receive treatment in any location they request. Mardini said a number of medevac operators did not have the capacity to operate in Covid-19 conditions. “We have helped to bring many patients from Africa to Dubai, as well as to Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi. We have also flown patients between Africa and the U.S.”
In April, Jetex launched the luxury service ‘Iftar in the Skies,’ a play on the traditional early evening fast-breaking meal during the Holy Month of Ramadan, this time in the air. The firm chartered the Global 6000, Challenger 850, a Lineage 1000, and a Legacy aircraft to stage the special flights.
Mardini said that innovation played an important role in Jetex’s market approach, with first-mover advantage being particularly important. "We invest in research and development to design products and services that did not exist before," he said. “My intention is to exceed expectations and leave our customers feeling spoiled."
On the international scene, as reported by AIN earlier this year, Jetex plans three additional Asia-Pacific facilities after opening a new FBO at Seletar Aerospace Park in Singapore in 2020.
The FBO runs a collaboration with Bombardier to bring its Singapore Service Center into the worldwide Jetex FBO and ground handling network. Mardini explained Jetex’s service standards and ground handling systems matched well with Bombardier’s strong presence in Singapore.
"We are planning to host a special inaugural event for the FBO at the next Singapore Airshow in February 2022," he said. "As soon as travel restrictions are lifted across Asia-Pacific, we will accelerate our efforts in the region and look forward to announcing more Jetex destinations in this important market."