Rizon, the Middle East executive charter company, is adding to the extensive building projects underway in the prosperous country of Qatar having started work on a brand new business aviation FBO and hangar facility at Doha Airport.  The new facility, similar to the size of its UK headquarters at London Biggin Hill now under construction, is scheduled for opening in early 2010. 
Significantly, the new building will be of modular construction so that it can move to the New Doha International Airport when it opens from 2011.
Meanwhile, Rizon’s London Biggin Hill base is on track for opening this autumn.  Contractors Civils and Reid Steel have completed 60% of construction including steelwork and roofing.  Rizon is creating some 200 new jobs at Biggin Hill and recruiting is well underway. 
Rizon will announce its newly appointed UK/Europe Sales and Marketing Director during the forthcoming business aviation show EBACE in Geneva.
The UK-based maintenance operation is set for completion in October with the passenger handling operation (FBO) following in November “ representing a total investment of $16 million “ down from the $20 million originally forecast.  We have received numerous enquiries for hangarage maintenance and aircraft management opportunities from the new site “ all of which are being evaluated, according to Rizon Group CEO Will Curtis.
In related news, on 6 April, Rizon received European EASA 145 approval to undertake maintenance work on the Hawker family of aircraft at Biggin Hill and it is now busy working on tooling and staffing in support of its expanding Bombardier Challenger fleet.  Rizon will also move over its ME-based Hawker Beechcraft Premier 1 light jet to the UK in May.  It expects to attain is UK AOC then, as well as its Qatar AOC in early May 2009.
And bucking the economic trend and resultant drop in business aviation activity, Rizon is adding new private jets to its fleet.  Next month Rizon will take on a Global XRS on management contract (registered in the UK).  Also in May, Rizon will put its first Challenger 605 into service, based in Doha, Qatar.  The company is adding three Bombardier  Challenger 604s on management contracts in the UK “ aircraft scheduled to enter service in late May 2009, while a second new Hawker 900 XP will be delivered in May 2009, to be operated under Rizon’s UAE AOC and based in the GCC region.   This takes the total number of aircraft in the Rizon fleet this summer to seven.
For the longer term, Rizon has become one of the first private jet companies to commit to the all new Learjet 85, placing orders for four of the 3,000 nm range aircraft in January this year, to serve both European and Middle East markets.
When the global recovery happens “ and even the Middle East market has dropped off significantly these past months “ we will be well positioned to catch the upturn.  We hope that the recovery will commence late this year as we open the doors to our new facilities in the UK and Qatar, Will Curtis said.
For all of us in the business jet industry the first sign of the global economy picking up will likely be lawyers, accountants and consultants chartering private aircraft as they need to move quickly to broker mergers and acquisitions, he believes.