Held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Abu Dhabi Business Air Expo is dedicated to Middle East business aviation and attracts trade visitors primarily from within the region. Here is some information to help you with your planning:
1. When does OMAD Business Air Expo 2013 take place?
Dates for this year’s event – held at Al Bateen airport (OMAD) – will be March 5-7. There will be general aviation (GA) static and flying displays and high participation by trade visitors from within the region. This is a smaller show than the Dubai Air Show, but it’s unique, as it focuses on GA.
2. What are the airport considerations at OMAD?
OMAD is a joint use civil/military airfield with aircraft parking availability anticipated to be adequate for this event. If parking does become an issue, operators will have the option of doing a drop-and-go. Prior permission required (PPR) and airport slots are currently not needed for operations into this airport. It’s recommended, however, that aircraft parking be requested as soon as the schedule is known. Airport weight limitations accommodate aircraft up to the size of a Boeing BBJ. It’s best, however, to confirm this with your ground handler to ensure that there are no issues with larger aircraft operations. Heavier or wide-body aircraft can be accommodated at Abu Dhabi Intl (OMAA). Fire category at OMAD is Cat-7.
3. What services are available at OMAD?
While OMAD is not currently a frequent destination for GA, it may become a more commonly used destination in future. Ground handling services are available, and credit can be arranged with advanced notice. Aviation fuel at this location needs to be confirmed two to three days in advance to ensure availability.
4. What are alternate airports to consider?
OMAA (about a 20-minute drive from the expo site) and Sharjah (OMSJ) (about 30-minutes away) are the recommended alternates. Both are airports of entry (AOE) with 24-hour operations, full services, ground handling, and credit availability with advanced arrangements. Operators may also consider Dubai (OMDB); however, this is a 1.5 hour drive to the expo site. Al Dhafra (OMAM) is another possibility, but this military airport is not an AOE and PPR is needed with three days’ lead time. Aircraft parking issues are not anticipated at any of these alternate airports, but fuel uplift arrangements should be scheduled in advance to ensure fuel availability.
5. Are landing permits a requirement?
UAE requires landing permits for all aircraft, regardless of type. The various Emirates process landing permits requests differently, and it’s always best to confirm landing permit procedures with your ground handler or 3rd-party provider in advance. To obtain landing authorization you’ll need certificates of registration, airworthiness, and insurance, along with a local business contact, full schedule, and route with FIRs, to name a few.
6. What are insurance requirements for UAE?
Specific insurance coverage requirements are mandated by aviation authorities for all operations to the UAE. Minimum passenger liability insurance is 250,000 SDRs (special drawing rights) per passenger for all aircraft over 2,700 kgs. There are also minimum liability requirements for baggage and cargo.
7. Are Israeli nationals absolutely prohibited from entering the UAE?
No Israeli nationals, or aircraft built in Israel, are permitted into the UAE under any circumstances. Anyone, regardless of nationality, will not be permitted into the UAE if they have an Israeli stamp in their passport. Be aware also that operations from Afghanistan to the UAE will only be accepted if the flight departs either Kabul for Kandahar aerodromes and has undergone appropriate security screening.
8. Will hotel and local transport availability be a consideration?
While there’s a large selection of good quality hotels in the Abu Dhabi area, it’s always smart to book as early as possible for best selection/options. It can be difficult securing preferred accommodations on very short notice. Extended cancellation policies and prepayment requirements may be in effect during certain busy periods. For local crew/passenger transport needs, it’s recommended to hire a car with driver vetted or recommended by your ground handler. Avoid local taxis, public transportation, and rental vehicles, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region.
9. What about cultural considerations?
Both women and men should dress conservatively within the UAE. While burkas are not required for women, exposing skin of your arms and legs should be limited – and this is also true for men. Avoid bringing alcohol into the UAE or any items bearing non-Muslim religious symbols, such as a necklace with a cross. It’s always a good idea to try to learn some local phrases such as “hello” or “goodbye” as this show respect for the local culture. Also, do not sit with the soles of your feet pointed at anyone (this is considered a sign of disrespect) and avoid turning your back on any elders who may be in a meeting with you. Also, be aware that certain hand gestures that are commonly acceptable in Western culture may be considered obscene in Middle Eastern culture. It’s usually best to research cultural norms before traveling to a region you are unfamiliar with.
10. Any other tips to consider?
Always check visa requirements when traveling to this region, and ensure that you have appropriate business contact information when applying for permits. It’s always wise to stay abreast of geopolitical concerns in the region and to check that you have appropriate insurance necessary to overfly certain countries. Be aware that last-minute schedule changes may cause delays and multiple permit revisions, as many of the countries in this region require permits with varying lead time requirements.
If you’re not able to secure parking at OMAD, there are plenty of close-by alternate airports with ample parking availability. While full aircraft services are available at airports in this region, it’s always recommended to pre-book fuel uplifts in advance and to give your local handler as much prior notice as possible to coordinate required services.
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About Keith Foreman
With more than two decades of experience at Universal and even more as an air traffic controller in the United States Air Force, Master Trip Owner Keith Foreman has extensive experience in business aviation operations. Keith, who has facilitated more than 19,000 trip legs, is also an expert on the Middle East, having lived in the region for several years. Keith’s reputation and knowledge have earned the praise of industry associations such as the National Business Aviation Association, where he is regularly asked to give presentations on regional operational issues in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Keith, who has an associate’s degree in aeronautical science, is also frequently interviewed in a variety of industry publications both domestically and internationally. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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