This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to the UAE during the MEBAA show.
The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) airshow is the leading business aviation exhibition in the Middle East for business aviation professionals. For general aviation (GA) operators planning to attend MEBAA 2016 December 6-8, there are a number of planning considerations to be mindful of.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airports
MEBAA 2016 will be held at Al Maktoum (OMDW), the primary airport for GA operators attending the event. Dubai (OMDB) is also available, but this is primarily a scheduled commercial airport with more challenging GA access. Note that OMDW is about a one hour drive to the city center, and ramp space here will be partially taken up by static display aircraft. While available parking opportunities will be better at OMDW, some operators looking to avoid the longer drive into Dubai will opt to park at OMDB.
2. Operating hours and services
OMDW and OMDB are 24-hour airports of entry (AOEs) offering full GA infrastructure and support services. However, note that OMDW has occasional operating curfews, 1500-1800 local every Monday and 0001-0045 local on every Tuesday. During these curfew periods the airport closes to all arrivals/departures.
3. Airport slots and PPRs
Both OMDB and OMDW have airport slots but do not mandate prior permission required (PPR). OMDB slots have deviation of -/+ 15 minutes, and failure to use your slots, or operating outside of the deviation period, can lead to operator fines. Note that peak hours at OMDB are 0800-2200 local, and it may be difficult to confirm GA slots during this period. At OMDW slots have deviation of just -/+ 5 minutes, but extended deviations are permitted due to weather issues. For both airports it’s recommended to request airport slots as soon as schedule is known.
4. Other airports to consider
Abu Dhabi (OMAA) and Bateen (OMAD) are good alternate airports to consider for operators traveling to Dubai and/or MEBAA. Both are 24-hour AOEs with no airport slot or PPR mandates. Drive time to OMDW, or to the popular Jumeirah hotel area to the west of central Dubai, is about one hour from either Abu Dhabi airport.
5. Hotel considerations
Dubai has a wide selection of hotels available, including international chain hotels, but most are located in the city area. Expect to pay 160-280 USD and up per night for 4-star crew accommodations. If you choose to stay out at OMDW, 4-star crew accommodations are available, but supply is limited. Crews planning to book accommodation in the OMDW area during MEBAA are advised to book as soon as schedule is known. Accommodations close to OMDW will be in high demand, with prices elevated during this event period.
6. Local transport
For crew ground transport we recommend pre-paid (car with driver) options. As demand will be elevated for these services during the MEBAA period, it’s recommended that arrangements be confirmed as early as possible. Public taxis are best avoided, unless pre-vetted by either your hotel or ground handler.
7. In-flight catering recommendations
In-flight caterers are available at all major UAE airports, and 72 hours’ advance notification is recommended for catering orders.
8. Jet fuel uplifts
Fuel uplift delays are possible at both OMDB and OMDW, but for different reasons. OMDB experiences potential GA fueling delays due to very high volumes of scheduled commercial traffic, with priority always given to commercial operators. On the other hand, operators at OMDW may experience fuel delays due to the great distance between the parking ramp and the fuel farm. To minimize potential for fuel delays on day of departure it’s recommended to fuel upon arrival and to always pre-specify fuel volume requirements.
If you’re planning on attending the MEBAA show or will be in this area during this event, be aware of additional traffic in the area. Services such as hotels and transportation will be in high demand. It’s recommended that arrangements for such event be made in advance.
Stay tuned for Part 2 which covers permits, customs, immigration, and visa information for travel to the UAE for the MEEBA show.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance traveling to the UAE, contact me at email@example.com.
About Greg Linton
Greg Linton, Manager of the Echo and Large Aircraft Team, is known as a solutions-oriented problem solver. He’s also known as an expert on operations around the globe, particularly to Europe, Africa and China. Since joining Universal in 2000, Greg has facilitated more than 9,100 trip legs. He has represented Universal at numerous industry tradeshows and conventions including the European Business Aviation Association Conference & Exhibition and the National Business Aviation Association Conference. Greg has also been interviewed for and contributed articles to many industry publications. Prior to joining Universal, Greg served as an aircraft maintenance administration supervisor in the United States Marine Corps. Greg holds a bachelor’s degree in aviation management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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