x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Skydive Dubai expands so more thrill-seekers can drop in

Skydive Dubai adds runways, a restaurant and lounge and a bigger drop zone as it opens for its fourth season.

A new season of skydiving in Dubai gets underway with more facilties and a bigger dropzone. Sarah Dea
A new season of skydiving in Dubai gets underway with more facilties and a bigger dropzone. Sarah Dea

DUBAI // Skydive Dubai launched its new season this week, re-opening with a new runway and an exclusive restaurant and lounge.

Aiming to attract more tourists and day visitors as it evolves into its own mini resort, there is also a viewing platform over the expanded drop zone.

According to Ernesto Gainza, the assistant manager, about 40 to 50 per cent of those coming for tandem jumps are tourists, a number that grows in the high season.

The new lounge and restaurant, Zero Gravity, is being run by the Jumeirah group.

General manager, Andy Cuthbert, said: “Zero Gravity is a truly versatile new venue. You can spend the day at our beautiful private beach and by night enjoy five-star cuisine and service. My favourite part is the view with the Marina skyline on one hand, the beach right in front of you and The Palm and drop zone to the other side.”

There are plans to add a swimming pool.

The new runway at 850 metres is nearly double the size of the old 450-metre one and the drop zone has been broadened to allow for more divers and larger planes. Two planes have been added to the fleet.

“We started with 35 staff members and now we have 300,” Mr Gainza said. “This season we’re trying to bring the numbers of tandems up, too. Last year we had more than 9,000.”

He said during high season, tourists make up more than half the visitors. “It’s certainly becoming a tourist destination.We’re becoming more of a family-oriented place this year where people can just come and have a nice meal and just watch things from the restaurant.”

Firas Al Jabi, the marketing manager, said the annual Dubai International Parachuting Championships gives the venue worldwide recognition, and works as a promotion for tourists to the UAE.

“We have people travelling from all over the world to come and skydive here, from Spain, from India, so many countries,” he said.

Mr Gainza said the site’s resources make it an appealing destination for any adventure traveller.

mswan@thenational.ae