Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, centre, at the opening of Falcon?s helipad at Marina Mall.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, centre, at the opening of Falcon?s helipad at Marina Mall.

Helicopter tour to give bird's eye view of Abu Dhabi

Falcon Aviation opens a Dh3 million (US$817,000) private heliport and terminal next to Marina Mall.

An Abu Dhabi helicopter operator has opened a Dh3 million (US$817,000) private heliport and terminal next to Marina Mall to cater for corporate clients and Abu Dhabi's growing tourism industry. Falcon Aviation's 30-minute guided island tour will provide UAE residents and tourists with a bird's eye view of the capital - offering a new perspective on the city's design and the hundreds of billions of dirhams of development plans under way.

The tours are being conducted using Falcon's $3m Eurocopter EC130, which seats six. Officials said the opening of the terminal would provide greater exposure and easier access to Falcon flights, negating the need to pass through long airport check-in queues. And when space is available, Falcon will even be able to accommodate walk-on customers. "You can be shopping at Marina Mall, see the helicopter fly by and think 'what a beautiful afternoon,' and after wandering down and providing identification, be processed and flying in 30 minutes, easily," said AJ Baker, the vice president of business development and strategy at Falcon Aviation Services.

The tours above Lulu, Saadiyat and Yas islands, including fly-bys of the Ferrari World and the Yas Marina Circuit, cost between Dh490 (US$133.40) and Dh1,250 for a 10, 20 or 30-minute flight. Emirates Palace, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and Al Raha Beach are also part of the tour. Tourism is a small but growing part of the UAE helicopter industry, with tours in Dubai and now, Abu Dhabi. By contrast, about 90 per cent of aircraft operators' work is providing offshore support for oil and gas companies.

Corporate travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi forms a significant portion of their business, with fares of about Dh13,000 for the service. But that could change as Abu Dhabi's tourism agencies open hotels and tourist attractions and continue their push to bring in more cruise ships. "We don't expect to be at capacity in 2010 but in the high season in 2011 we will have two aircraft there [Marina Mall], running six to 10 flights a day, seven days a week," Mr Baker said.

The move comes as Falcon transfers most of its flights from Al Bateen Executive Airport, a converted military airbase on Abu Dhabi island. "We want to give corporate and tourism clients a better bang for their buck," Mr Baker said. "Here we have a better location, and a beautiful terminal facility designed for quick in and out." Falcon, which has a fleet of 21 helicopter and five business jets, diversified its business into the offshore oil and gas support sector in 2008, winning its first offshore for a three-year deal with Total, the French oil producer.

The contract was for the provision of up to three flights a day between Al Bateen Airport and production platforms and drilling rigs at Total's Abu Al Bukhoosh field, located 177km offshore, near the maritime border with Iran. igale@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Would you like it in blue? An Afghan shopkeeper shows a burqa to a customer at a bazaar in Herat. (Aref Karimi / AFP /  April 13, 2014)

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 24, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 24, 2014.

 That's asking a lot: this four-bedroom duplex penthouse apartment  at Marina Residence in Dubai is for sale with an asking price of Dh15.7 million. (Courtesy Better Homes / April 2014)

In pictures: Palm Jumeirah penthouse listed for Dh15.7 million

A four-bedroom duplex penthouse in Marina Residence 3 on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah is on the market for Dh15.7 million.

 Room with a view from one of the 21 duplex penthouses located in the Gate Towers sky-bridge. The sports courts and swimming pools can be seen below. Courtesy Alda

In pictures: Aldar’s Gate Towers Penthouse Collection on Reem Island

Aldar launched its Gate Towers Penthouse Collection at Cityscape Abu Dhabi. The launch features 21 penthouses spanning the skybridge, with each having a private indoor pool and incredible views.

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National