University of Cambridge study growth potential for private aviation in Sharjah

MBA students from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School recently completed a month of research and analysis on the opportunity to develop Sharjah as the leading private aviation hub within the MENA Region.
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With the support of executives in Crescent Enterprises, the team of five developed a strategic business plan highlighting the significant increase in traffic which the company’s aviation affiliate Gama Aviation’s Sharjah Fixed Base Operations (FBO) have experienced over recent years. 

Gama Aviation recently announced its Sharjah FBO witnessed 70 per cent growth in traffic in 2013 and is anticipating similar growth this year, attributing the rise to both an increase in tourism and growing awareness of the advantages of Sharjah International Airport, such as its efficient ground handling operations and close proximity to Dubai and the Northern Emirates. To achieve the goal of becoming the preferred gateway for private travel to the UAE, the company has stated plans to create new passenger and crew lounges as well as double staffing levels at the facility. 

H.E. Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, stated: "Sharjah International Airport and Gama Aviation have created a world class platform for private aviation in Sharjah, which is making a major impact on the development of the industry in the region, as demand for private aviation continues to grow. There is no doubt that Sharjah is now emerging strongly as a regional – and international – hub for private aviation.”  

“Sharjah’s aviation industry has gained impressive momentum in the last few years both in terms of traffic and growth, especially evident with the signing of an agreement by Sharjah Airport giving Gama Aviation full authority to manage private aviation service,” said Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Chair of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Alumni Council. “It was a clear connection for us to welcome very capable MBA students from Cambridge University, to not only provide them with real-world experience, but an opportunity to make an impact on the further development of the regional infrastructure sector.“ 

Throughout their time in Sharjah and at Gama Aviation’s FBO facilities, the GCP team performed an in-depth analysis of business aviation movements and customer trends within the UAE and the GCC Region. In addition to reviewing secondary data, the students also conducted interviews with various key stakeholders and industry experts to form the base of their strategic business plan on strengthening Sharjah's positioning as a key business aviation hub. 

MBA student Rob Blomquist said: “The Global Consulting Project through Crescent Enterprises has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in a region of the world that continues to prove itself as an economic leader. Through this project I have not only gained a greater understanding of the aviation industry, but also a deeper insight into working in an increasingly globalised working environment and even more specifically the business culture and government regulation as it relates to the Middle East.”