Barbados now has a new multimillion dollar aviation service facility for high net worth visitors which industry players predict will make this country a preferred destination for major investors, business travelers and vacationers.
The new Fixed Based Operation (FBO), the second of its kind at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), has built a $3 million M Jet facility to provide a comprehensive range of private jet services on a 24-hour basis.
An FBO is an organisation granted the right by an airport to operate at the airport and provide aeronautical services such as fueling, hangaring, tie-down and parking, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, flight instruction, and similar services.
Owner of both operations, local construction magnate Mark Maloney told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that there are already plans to expand the services to cater to a more diverse clientele.
“The facility includes a 3,200-sq-ft terminal with a passenger lounge, crew suite with private shower facilities and kitchenette, 12-seat conference room, business centre, refreshments, concierge, and a pet relief area,” Maloney said.
“It also has an in-house customs and immigration facility, which is normally open daily from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. local time with after-hours available on appointment, while the FBO itself is staffed 24/7. Aircraft disinfection services are also available,” added the well known businessman who is one of the investors behind the Hyatt Ziva Hotel Resort being built in Bridgetown.
“While the FBO already has a 10,000-sq-ft hurricane-resistant hangar that is capable of sheltering aircraft up to a Dassault Falcon 7X, the company is in the process of building another 26,000-sq-ft hangar that will be able to simultaneously accommodate two BBJs. It is also working to nearly triple the size of its 35,000-sq-ft private ramp. Fuel is provided by SOL, but the company offers many well-known contract fuel programmes,” Maloney disclosed.
He is forecasting that coming out of COVID private travel will rebound faster than commercial travel and many will opt to charter.
The prominent businessman told Barbados TODAY his company has therefore positioned itself to capture this business and clients, some of whom will be using the 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp visa programme to reside here for a longer period .
“We need to have the infrastructure at our entry points to facilitate this business and MJet has worked to ensure that it can facilitate with the highest standard , the needs of these customers on a 24-hour basis with silver service, along with our service providers and partners,” Maloney stated.
He believes that Barbados can capture a market with which it already has a relationship, “but do so more now in a unique way where luxury is every step of the way when they arrive,” he suggested.
“When people travel and do so seamlessly with exceptional products and services they will feel at home and will consider Barbados as their second home and that will bring tremendous foreign exchange and investment opportunities to us and our citizens,” Maloney added.
He is touting his M Jet facility as the kind of private aviation service that would encourage foreign travelers to return to Barbados.
Up to the time of publication, Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins could not be reached for comment and new airport Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hadley Bourne was unavailable.