x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Business jets fly escape route from Egypt

Civil unrest in Egypt is driving demand for regional business jet flights.

Abu Dhabi - November 9, 2008: A Gulfstream G450 on display at the Bateen Airbase. Falcon Aviation Services revealed its latest offerings and strategic direction during a press conference. ( Philip Cheung / The National ) *** Local Caption *** PC0014-FalconAviation.jpgPC0014-FalconAviation.jpg
Abu Dhabi - November 9, 2008: A Gulfstream G450 on display at the Bateen Airbase. Falcon Aviation Services revealed its latest offerings and strategic direction during a press conference. ( Philip Cheung / The National ) *** Local Caption *** PC0014-FalconAviation.jpgPC0014-FalconAviation.jpg

Business jet operators from the Emirates are helping stranded company staff and foreign visitors to escape the civil unrest in Egypt.

The crisis has created an exodus that commercial airlines and the country's airport terminals have been unable to fully accommodate.

"With political demonstrations continuing across major cities including Cairo and Alexandria, governments and multinational corporations are requesting urgent flights for foreign nationals wishing to leave the country," said Christina Stanley, a sales and marketing manager at Chapman Freeborn, an aviation broker with offices in Dubai. "We have already completed a number of VIP and executive jet charters as well as large passenger movements on our larger aircraft."

But some emergency flights have been hampered by congestion at Egyptian airports and other delays, the companies said.

Falcon Aviation Services, based in Abu Dhabi, said it began receiving inquiries for chartered flights out of Egypt last Saturday, and dispatched several business aircraft, including its Embraer Legacy 600 and two Gulfstream G450s, out of Alexandria and Cairo.

"After some lengthy landing approvals work, we did our first flights on Sunday," said AJ Baker, the vice president of business development at Falcon. "However, at both airports, delays on the ground were extended - we planned for two hours, but were there for over five hours - primarily due to sheer volume of traffic."

Air operators are assessing the security situation constantly and have drawn up contingency plans should the situation on the ground deteriorate.

"It is a very busy time for our security department," said Dr Mark Pierotti, the chief operating officer at Al Jaber Aviation, which has evacuated customers on flights to Asia and western Europe over the past few days. "We are even talking to our crew in-flight - it is very important they feel comfortable."

Nick Maynard, the manager of marketing and communications at Royal Jet, based in Abu Dhabi, said the company had flown several services out of Cairo and expected further business from the city as well as from Alexandria, Luxor and other provincial airports. "As the situation develops, we do anticipate a continuing high demand for such aircraft in the coming days," he said.

igale@thenational.ae