Gama Group is expanding its business aviation services into Saudi Arabia in a joint venture with Imitiaz Company for Aviation Services as its local partner. The new company will operate under the Gama Aviation name from later this year in Jeddah, the kingdom’s second city and a vital centre for commerce and tourism.
The company will specialise in aircraft management and aims to operate charter services under its own Saudi GACA Part 135 certificate. The next step will be to add aircraft maintenance and consultancy services, replicating the company’s expertise in Europe, the US and the UAE.
Gama CEO Marwan Abdel Khalek says: “Breaking into the important Saudi market, the biggest for business aviation in the Middle East, is a long-held wish and a significant announcement for Gama.”
The group set up in Sharjah, its Middle East and North Africa headquarters, and in Dubai in 2008 and obtained its AOC in the UAE in February 2010. Gama now employs 25 staff and manages five aircraft at Sharjah and Dubai International airports, including an ACJ318 which joined the fleet in October.
The largest aircraft in Gama’s Middle East fleet, the Airbus is in a configuration of 14 VIP seats and is the eleventh type for the group globally. Gama is managing and operating the aircraft on behalf of a private owner.
“We welcome the increasing involvement of experienced companies such as Gama Aviation with the growing fleet of Airbus corporate jets, which are the new top end of the market because they deliver the widest and tallest cabin of any business jet,” says François Chazelle, VP of Airbus Corporate Jets.
Gama has formed a new company, Gama Support Services FZE, in preparation for obtaining its UAE GCAA CAR 145 approval introducing maintenance services at Sharjah. A 12,000sq metre facility, now under construction, will provide hangarage and maintenance for business jets, to be followed by a fixed base operation.
Regional MD Dave Edwards says customers will realise significant cost benefits from Gama’s investment in Sharjah. He describes the airport as “a great fuel stop between east and west.”