ExecuJet Europe this month began operations at its new FBO facility in Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport.
It has every expectation of being at the centre of an exciting new era for the aviation industry in Germany. Tempelhof Airport, the focus of most private business jet travel, will close as Berlin develops a new super airport.
The final green light for the new capital city airport was greeted with jubilation in Berlin. "The time has come" said Dieter Johannsen-Roth, outgoing ceo of Berlin Airports.
The Federal Administrative Court's go-ahead for the the expansion of Schoenefeld Airport to become the new capital city airport Berlin Brandenburg International (BBI) cannot be reversed.
Johannsen-Roth said: "It is not possible to appeal this ruling. After 10 years of intensive planning the course is now clear for restructuring air traffic in the German capital city region."
Although the political decision has been taken, ExecuJet needs a closure date to refine its planning. Fabio Hausannann, finance manager for ExecuJet Europe, said: "We are expecting an announcement on the closure date in the second half of this year."
There will be some regret over the closure of Tempelhof because it is convenient for the city centre. Schoenefeld Airport is further out and ExecuJet is already looking at every measure that can speed their clients into downtown Berlin.
Hausannann said: "We will be sad to see Tempelhof go as it is geographically very convenient. But, on the plus side, we will have a new facility. We have, of course, lined up lkimousine taxis to the city centre."
New roads should make the journey more convenient. ExecuJet Europe will be looking closely at arrangements for booking slots in the new BBI.
While the Tempelhof closure date is still to be fixed, other important decisions have been taken.
Johannsen-Roth has been ceo at Berlin Airports since January 2004. He will be handing over the reins to a successor to drive Berlin Airports into a new era. The supervisory board has chosen Dr Rainer Schwarz, 48, as Berlin Airports' new ceo. Dr Schwarz, an economist, was manager at Duesseldorf International Airport from August 2001 before he took over as ceo there in January 2002.
And the timetable for the expansion of BBI is set in stone. By 2011 the entire air traffic will be concentrated at BBI. In 2007, Tempelhof Airport will be closed; in 2011, directly after the opening of BBI, the second inner-city airport, Tegel Airport, will close.
The court imposed conditions on night flights and for compensation of the outer residential areas. But Johannsen-Roth said: "These conditions do not endanger the profitability of the project."
Johannsen-Roth added: "The ruling is good news for Berlin, Brandenburg, the airport, the neighbours and potential investors. We now have planning security; BBI is on the way. This will give Berlin and Brandenburg the long-awaited stimulus. As a result of BBI there will be about 40,000 new jobs in the region by 2012."
Located within the Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS) complex, the ExecuJet Europe facility will develop its business as Berlin builds its new super airport.
Thomas Weyer, md of engineering at the Berlin Airports, said: "We have used the last few months for construction preparations and detailed planning. We will now very quickly move on.
The agenda is to start the major construction request for tender, set up the BBI construction site, complete the terminal architecture and begin negotiations with the banks."
ExecuJet is focused on being at the centre of the new era.
"Over the past five years, ExecuJet Europe has invested in a number of strategically located service facilities to deliver aircraft operators first-class ground services," said Patrick Kleu, md ExecuJet Europe. "The launch of the first full service FBO at Berlin-Schonefeld is the latest step in
our drive to expand our services on the continent."
ExecuJet is building on a 15-year association with Bombardier. It acquired a 20 per cent equity stake in LBAS in November 2005.
ExecuJet has FBO facilities in Copenhagen Roskilde, run in co-operation with the Copenhagen Airport Authority, and Zurich.
Just as the new BBI is set to become central to aviation in Europe, the LBAS operation will be a hub of an
Pressure on facilities has tended to limit the provision of FBO facilities in Berlin.
But ExecuJet Europe Berlin plans to offer a whole range of facilities. "There will be no slot restrictions. Our services will include aircraft refuelling, de-icing, cleaning, ramp parking, assistance with immigration, customs clearance and screening," said Pamela Riefling, marketing co-ordinator for ExecuJet Europe.
A pilot lounge will enable flight crews to prepare for flights via complementary Internet connections and print facilities. They will be able to access weather information and co-ordinate cordon bleu catering.
The FBO also offers concierge services and will make hotel and transport arrangements.
The services will be phased in throughout the year. Riefling said: "The new FBO will be fully functional by the fourth quarter of 2006."
Established in 1997, LBAS is a partnership between Lufthansa Technik, Bombardier Aerospace and the ExecuJet Aviation Group. It provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for Bombardier business aircraft based in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The ExecuJet Aviation group manages more than 90 aircraft and represents Bombardier Business Aircraft in Germany and in 31 other countries.
ExecuJet is confident that its business will continue to grow in tandem with the new Berlin airport.
Scheduled airline passenger numbers should grow even more - and this should bring spin-offs for the business jet side. Crowded airline schedules underline the advantages of business jet travel. And scheduled airline passenger numbers are likely to be massive in 2006 and 2007.
Berlin Airports rounded off the 2005 business year with a new record in passenger numbers - 17.2 million.
"We are aiming for the 18 million mark in terms of passenger numbers this year. Berlin is one of the airports in Europe with the strongest growth dynamics. Thanks to the boom in low-cost airlines, Schoenefeld Airport, which is still making a loss, will make a profit by the end of 2007," Johannsen-Roth said.
Berlin Airports invested a total of O 111.5 million in 2005. The main focus of investments was O 69.5 million spent on beginning the expansion of Schoenefeld Airport to turn it into the capital's BBI Airport. Further investments totalling O 41.5 million were made at Schoenefeld and Tegel Airports to improve the infrastructure and customer services, including O 12 million on the new Terminal D at Schoenefeld. A further O 7.4 million was invested at Tegel on additional parking stands, apron facilities and reinforcement measures in Terminal A1.
FBOs hope the good times are here to stay. Companies are flying more hours.
Peter Isendahl, head of sales and marketing with LBAS in Berlin, was asked if business coming into its hangars would continue to increase over the next couple of years.
He said: "It looks good right now but I can't speculate. I hope it stays like this. No-one knows what the future brings but it looks good. We have developing markets in eastern Europe. There is also the Russian market which is growing strongly. Many of our customers operate into Moscow for example."
He added: "The political decision is clear. Templehof will be closed next year and Tegel will be closed as the new airport moves forward. We are looking forward to the highway going directly to our facilities. That will be a big advantage for our customers. If the traffic infrastructure improves like this, it's also good for me coming to work in the morning!"
If business continues to expand with the BBI, the cluster of FBO management and staff will have every reason to look forward to work for the next decade.
LBAS has announced a major expansion at LBAS. It has added a hangar dedicated to Learjet maintenance. The new addition raises the total useable maintenance area to about 6,000 square metres. The expansion is designed to help service the rapidly growing number of Bombardier Learjet Challenger and global customers.