Airport of the World: Aéroports de Montreal Dorval

Aéroports de Montreal
Since August 1st 1992, ADM has been the Local Airport Authority responsible for the management, operation and development of Montreal International Airports – Dorval and Mirabel, through a 60-year lease signed with Transport Canada. ADM is a non-profit organization. The Board of Directors is comprised of eight members, chaired by Mrs Nycol Pageau-Goyette.

AMS’ mission is to exceed guest and business partner expectations by providing airport services designed to render their airports among the most accessible and welcoming in the world; to foster sustained growth for their airports while safeguarding the sound position of the Corporation; and, to contribute to economic development of the Greater Montreal area.

ADM has 580 employees in service. Revenues are close to $120 million annually.

Wholly-Owned Subsidiaries

– Aéroports de Montreal Capital Inc.
– Integrated airport development projects involving finance, operations, investment or construction.
– Aéroports de Montreal International Inc
– Consulting services in airport planning, development, management and operations.

General Information Montreal International Airport – Dorval

Operational area: 1,325 hectares (property and development zone)
Passengers: >6,843,242 passengers in 1997

Start of operations: 1941
Operational area: 1,325 hectares (property and development zone)
Passengers: 6,843,242 passengers in 1997
Aircraft movements: 195,193 movements in 1997
Air cargo: 58,677 metric tons in 1997
Number of employees on the site: Approximately 18,000
Main characteristics:
  • 20 minutes from downtown Montreal.
  • At the heart of a dynamic industrial zone.
  • Air Canada Maintenance Centre and Headquarters, Canadair-Bombardier, Innotech and Cygnus Dorval facilities on site. CAE Electronics and Rolls-Royce facilities nearby
  • Conveniently linked to ground and sea transportation networks
  • The Dorval Terminal

    The Dorval Terminal is housed in an eight-store multi-purpose building whose ground floor and first floor are used to accommodate the flow of passengers.

    Two concourses equipped with boarding rooms extend off either side of the main building. The East concourse is used for domestic flights, while the West concourse serves transborder flights.

    An aeroquay, a modern building equipped with additional boarding rooms is also linked to the terminal by two tunnels with moving sidewalks. The West side of the aeroquay services international flights while the East side services transborder flights. The concourse and aeroquay provide access to 52 gates, 32 of which are equipped with loading bridges.

    The airport has three runways, the longest of which measures 3,353 m. In addition to the passenger processing area (which includes the terminal and boarding rooms), other zones at Dorval include those for general aviation, aircraft maintenance (Air Canada maintenance base), and air cargo.

    The Arrivals level is on the ground floor. The East side accommodates domestic flights while the West side is used for transborder and international flights.

    The Departures level is on the first floor. Here we also find many of the services available to passengers (ticket and check-in counters, boutiques, shops, cloakroom and restaurants).

    Shopping at Dorval

    With a new shopping concourse, Dorval honours its promise to offer travellers products and services that fulfil their needs in a warm and elegant setting so typical of Montreal, all at prices comparable to those found in downtown retail establishments.

    Coming or going, travellers can now delight in a variety of attractive boutiques which feature everything from novelty items to handicrafts and souvenirs. Those who enjoy leafing through the offerings of bookstores and news-stands or indulging a sweet tooth will find themselves in seventh heaven. Anyone looking for speedy services – banking or insurance – will find it on the spot! There are also three boutiques nestled in the heart of Dorval’s domestic finger, a novel shopping recourse sure to please all travellers. In the spring, a bistro and restaurant will join these new retail arrivals in this sector.

    Dorval’s expanded restaurant facilities serve up something for everyone’s taste. Marriot Catering offers you a choice of 15 small and large restaurants, some of them ideal for a quick snack and others for those who want to sit back and enjoy a full-course meal..

    Improvement Programme

    ADM has implemented a programme for the modernization and improvement of its airport facilities – a programme that requires an investment of $190 million over five years. Already in 1993, 1994 and 1995, ADM spent more than $110 million on many different projects. Between 1993 and 1996, the following were among the projects either completed or launched:

    Construction of a new ramp on the Arrivals level to accommodate taxi, limousine, bus and minibus traffic and designation of an area for the exclusive use of private vehicles picking-up arriving passengers; erection of a marquee to protect users in unpleasant weather; and the addition of a third lane to the drop-off area on the Departures level

    Expansion and modernization of the domestic arrivals lounge including installation of new baggage carrousels to improve both service and aesthetic appearance, and to comply with new fire regulations.
    Design of a new transborder departure area including moving a cooling tower and construction of a baggage room to conform to American Government standards and increase baggage processing capacity, as well as to provide greater flexibility.

    Redesign and expansion of the domestic finger including refurbishing of ceilings; construction of new vertical access; refinishing of walls, columns and floors in the public areas; renovation of the washrooms; and remodelling a boarding lounge. This work is intended to make the waiting rooms more comfortable for clients and to improve access to the waiting room located on the main floor of the finger.

    A temporary international concourse has been retrofitted at the Western end of the terminal building. It can accommodate up to eight wide-bodied jets. The project primarily involves the refurbishing of departure lounges and the acquisition of a few boarding bridges.

    Expansion of the terminal’s main facade, joining of the transborder and domestic arrivals lounges, erection of a marquee on the upper ramp and construction of an international finger at Dorval to handle scheduled international flights – these are just a few of the projects ADM is working on.

    Air Cargo

    Montreal’s international airports provide good access to the East coast of North America, home of one of the heaviest concentrations of consumers in the world. Through Dorval and Mirabel, one can reach up to 100 million people within a radius of 1,000 km, which means that the airports provide direct access to one third of the entire population of Canada and the United States.

    Mirabel and Dorval link shippers and forwarders with an extensive, fully developed highway network, via highly efficient intermodal trucking services. This road network allows users to rapidly reach every major destination in the Eastern seaboard, from Halifax to Miami, Chicago and the American MidWest.

    Montreal’s comprehensive intermodal network is rounded out by the Port of Montreal, the second most important stop for East coast North American container traffic, and the extensive railway systems operated by Canadian Pacific and Canadian National. And as the airport authority says: “The quality of the road network and trucking services serving Dorval and Mirabel make each airport as desirable a destination for shipping goods to Europe as they are a drop-off point.”

    The absence of congestion at Mirabel and Dorval makes them highly accessible and extremely efficient. They offer all the advantages of major North American airports, without the delays and inconveniences that one finds in many other centres of the same type.

    When cargo must be stored, Montreal’s airports have all the space required. Mirabel offers more than 60,000 m2 of warehouse space, while Dorval provides 40,000 m2. Cargo handlers at both airports are experts at handling valuable materials, including anything from diamonds to works of art destined for major expositions. The same care is exercised for all merchandise – from envelopes to automobiles – irrespective of its size. This also holds true for perishable goods, from flowers and plants to food. Security is guaranteed and access to storage sites is severely restricted.

    For many years, ADM offers an incentive landing price schedule in order to encourage international cargo activities in Mirabel. This initiative measure allowed obtaining important cargo operators and among them can cited FedEx, Air France and Lufthansa.

    The landing price schedule consists of decreasing rates determined according to the total weight of aircraft operated by the airline company during a period of 12 months.

    Total cost per year
    Total cost per flight
    1 flight per month
    6 954 $
    579 $
    1 flight per week
    30 132 $
    579 $
    5 flights per week
    111 983 $
    431 $
    20 %
    7 flights per week
    145 775 $
    400 $
    31 %

    Low-cost simulation at the Royal Aeronautical Society

    London 13-14th of May 1998

    The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), one of the most prestigious associations of aviation professionals in the world, in it’s noble headquarters near Hyde Park Corner in London, organized a 2-day conference on the theme of new opportunities in flight training. At the very beginning of the conference Mr Rudy Frasca was put in the spotlight: the RAeS recognized his contributions to aviation training by their traditional award.

    Rudy Frasca is 40 years in the flight simulation business as he receives the RAeS Award from the hands of the president of the society in recognition of his significant contribution to the aviation community. Mr Frasca, a well-conserved American businessman with the looks of President Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks with such speed, that half of what he says will remain a secret. He is visibly moved to be bestowed with the RAeS honours. In his address to the gathering, sternly looked upon by ranges of august predecessors from the oilpaintings covering the walls, Mr Frasca reviews the history of FRASCA , his company. It is one of those American dreams : started with next to nothing, now sold over 1500 flight simulators world-wide.

    Frasca, like Frigidaire, has become the generic name instead of the brandname. The Frasca is the follow-up of the Link trainer, named after Edward Link, who invented this first simulator in 1924!

    In his address Rudy Frasca preluded on the theme he would hammer on continuously (“frapper toujours”): in his view, PC-based simulators, are games which cannot replace in any extentent, professionally supervised simulator training, let alone experience gained by flying an aircraft. Nevertheless, to Frasca’s annoyance, FAA has recognized PC-ATD training time to receive 4 hours of flight time credit for the American general pilot license.

    Professor Henry Taylor of the University of Illinois Institute of Aviation has lead an evaluation research project, in which the performance of two groups of students was assessed, one using PC-ATD + aircraft, the other using aircraft only as a training tool. For students prepared by PC-based flight training, it took nearly 4 hours less to complete the same level of proficiency as the aircraft-only group.

    The issue boils down to the question whether, in the future will students spend more time behind a PC for their flight training, or in a simulator and in life aircraft.
    Remarkably, FAA issued a circular crediting 10 hours of supervised PC-ATD time as 4 flight training hours, on the basis of quite limited research, even before this was completed.

    U.S. Congressman Thomas W. Ewing has become the lighting rod for those opposing to allow flight time credit for PC-AATD training. On appeal of Frasca and others, the General Accounting Office (GAO=Rekenkamer) has been put on this trail. Although external funding was refused, the Illinois University Institute of Aviation, has initiated a study into the transfer of Frasca training time!

    Professor Neil Johnston, of the Aerospace Research Group at Trinity college in Dublin, and Captain Susan Kavanagh of Aer Lingus, were among those who voiced the opinion that low fidelity simulation can be a preferred training route with educational advantages over high fidelity simulation. It is both cost and effectivity that stirs this discussion over the future of the flight simulation industry, where Zero Flight Time (ZFT) has become an accepted notion, –be it far from best practice!

    As always in this disaster-driven industry, flight safety is called upon by parties to plead maintaining the status quo. Innovators claim both educational and economical edges.
    Rudy Frasca : “Consider a student trained partly on a PC, crashes two weeks after the training with fatalities of all aboard” And , says Frasca: ‘with the computer you develop bad habits!’ These arguments deserve serious attention, but what do we say in reaction to this, knowing that modern aeroplanes are flown by computers more than ever ?

    Neil Johnston’s HARI-principle is meant to describe the basic criteria for technical and procedural training: it should be Holistic, Applied, Realistic and Integrated! Both for content and procedure of the discussion, Johnston contributed with a masterly synthesis in his closing statement of this discussion.

    The Royal Aeronautical society offered a podium for discussion of the issue of cost-effective simulation for flight training. Pilots, researchers, technicians and entrepreneurs were there to engage in the debate. The ambience being rather tongue-in-cheek, it was remarkable that issues where stated quite clearly, and differences of opinion were put on the table. This is to the merit of RAeS, the conference scheme of which is extensive and impressive: literally hundreds of events are scheduled each year in this aviation temple.

    Impediments blocking the road to US airport privatization

    By Astrid van der Wal and Edwin Hengstmengel

    This article is the last in a series of three on airport privatization. Pros and cons of privatization are described in the previous article. In this article, Astrid van der Wal, business analyst at Schiphol International B.V. and Edwin Hengstmengel will explain that, despite several incentives, the US follow ‘leader’ Europe rather reluctantly. Contrary to the European situation, delays can be expected in the US and the implications for various stakeholders (government, airlines and passengers) are briefly outlined


    In 1996 a bill was passed permitting up to 5 US airports to conduct for-profit operations in a FAA Pilot Privatiza-tion Program on the private ownership of airports. Three reasons US airports are suddenly ripe for privatization:
    1. Lack of money for infrastructure improve-ments;
    2. Sweeping changes in management philoso-phy throughout the service sector of the US economy;
    3. Emerging private sector capability to pro-vide first class airport management services.

    In the US there have never been laws barring the sale of public airports. However, there are disincentives that have effectively discouraged such sales. The biggest impediments:
    – current regulations forbid airport revenue, including that from the sale or lease of an airport, from being used for anything other than the airport;
    – private airports are not eligible for federal AIP funds;
    – private airports cannot finance projects with tax-exempt debt;
    – there may be constraints on the property title, such as the government retaining the right to seize the property during times of emergency.
    These measures have up to now effectively prevented the sale of a public airport to a private entity.

    The FAA Pilot Privatization Program will relax some of these restrictions in order to explore the possibilities of privatization. But built into the program will be strict constraints over noise generation, rent increases for private airport lessees and environmental damage.

    Privatization at any of the 567 public commercial airports in the US will be slow, and no doubt each case will proceed differently. Commercial airports in the US are owned almost entirely by municipalities (cities, counties) and states. An intricate skein of federal, state and local regulations and requirements must be negotiated to arrive at a privatization agreement. Further the private sector already plays a significant role in operating and financing US airports.

    – Proponents
    Claim that privatization would inject much needed capital into the aviation infrastructure because it would make airports more commercially driven and financially self-sufficient. They also point to the partial privatization successes in the US to show why the effort should press ahead. Some use the private management of Indianapolis International Airport (BAA Plc has signed a pioneering 10-year contract to operate and manage the airport) as an example of improved performance through privatization. Indianapolis moved away from an unimaginatively marketed, production-led and surprisingly Spartan airport to private sector discipline and a sharper focus.

    – Opponents:
    Critics of privatization, including many of the major airlines, fear increased costs for airlines and passengers (increased landing fees) and wonder whether safety and security will take a back seat to profits.
    The current law requires that public airport revenues are used exclusively to pay for capital and operation costs and stipulates that these funds cannot be diverted for non-airport uses. Worries are that municipalities facing budget problems might be tempted to tap airport revenues as a source of fiscal relief if this law was changed permanently. However, nowadays US airports seem to plough back any surpluses and top them up with grants and bond issues to fund expansion. The bond issues are often tax-exempt and therefore potentially taxable revenue is foregone each year.

    Response to the Pilot Program

    In October 1997 a policy brief was sent to mayors, city councils and other transportation officials overseeing the 100 largest US airports by enplanements. It detailed benefits behind privatizing airports, as well as explaining the FAA privatization process.

    The FAA has begun accepting applications for the Pilot Program as of December 1 1997.

    The response to the FAA Program has been less than encouraging. So far, the program has not succeeded in bringing forth a major airport or for that matter even a medium-sized airport. People always thought that the reasons airports in the US weren’t being privatized was that the mayors had no incentive to privatize them because they couldn’t take the proceeds from the privatization downtown in any way. Unfortunately, the revenue diversion issue has turned out to be as much a local issue as a national airline issue. For the smaller and medium airports considering privatization, the tenant associations, pilot associations and others, are very wary of revenue being taken off the airport. They think their rents are going to go up. Or they consider it undue political interference from the government in the operation of the airport. That has slowed some of the smaller airports from participating in the Pilot Program.

    There is an enormous inertia and airline myopia. Many mayors, who have not hesitated to bid out their garbage collection and sewer systems, simply turn a blind eye to privatizing their airports. Hard to believe, but the first person they tend to ask about airport privatization is their current airport director, and the second is the consultant or banker who depends upon him… Meanwhile the airlines are still hung up on a ‘leveraged buyout’ paranoia that even Prozac couldn’t cure. Indianapolis’ airline costs have been cut nearly in half since privatization, yet not a single carrier has troubled itself to step forward and say: ‘We like this. Do it again’.

    Airports in the program

    Stewart International Airport (small commercial airport in Newburgh New Jersey):
    In April 1998 National Express was named preferred bidder for Stewart. Stewart will be the first airport in the US designated to participate in the Pilot Privatization Program. National Express says it will bid for every of the other pilot airports.
    Stewart’s day to day operations have been managed by Airport Group of New York, a subsidiary of Airport Group International (AGI).

    Brown Field Municipal Airport (small general aviation airport in San Diego, California):
    Second airport to apply for the Pilot Program. It is still to receive approval from the FAA.
    The application comes a year after the city of San Diego signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with ‘Brown Field Aviation Park LLC’ to develop, maintain, operate and manage the airport. The specific terms are being negotiated and are expected to be drawn up in a long-term master lease agreement.
    ‘Obtaining the FAA approval for this long-term lease will be easier under the pilot program, than trying it outside the format of the published program guidelines’ says Tracy Williams, director of airports for San Diego. Intentions are to develop Brown Field into a cargo airport. (‘In San Diego developers are attempting to transform a dusty municipal air strip called Brown Field into an all-cargo facility’)

    Allegheny County Airport (small general aviation airport – 100,000 mvts/year – near Pittsburgh):
    Airport has plans to apply for the Pilot Program.
    If all goes as planned, the airport will be leased by ‘Comarco’ an operator of general aviation airports in Los Angeles and Riverside counties in California. Until the formal application to the FAA has been approved, IMG (Infrastructure Management Group) is managing the facility.
    ‘In an unprofitable, general aviation facility such as Allegheny County Airport, it wasn’t hard to get the users to approve the deal. The odds of privatization happening are pretty low in an airport that is making money,’ says Steven Steckler, Company President of IMG.

    Oxnard and Camarillo Airports (small airports in Ventura County, near Los Angeles):
    The Board of Supervisors of the Ventura County Airports Authority in October 1997 proposed to apply for the Pilot Program. But the other members of the Airports Authority voted unanimously to reject the application. They said ‘too many’ questions remained.
    ‘If the pilot project is persued, there then becomes a potential financial incentive for decisions that could hurt the airports’ one of the members said. ‘I am not opposed to a public-private partnership’ said a representative of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, ‘but I do object to the pilot program…. It is for one purpose only, and that is for the county to be able to divert funds from the airport.’

    Mr Roger Kitley, managing director of BAA International doesn’t agree: ‘Privatization is an offensive word in some countries, but there is a real momentum. The train has left the station.’

    Antwerp 1998: 8th World Conference on Transport Research

    By Guillaume Burghouwt

    Nowadays, deregulation of air transport is a hot item. A lot of discussion has risen about the results of the American ‘Airline Deregulation Act’ of 1978 and similar liberalising policies in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Some are speaking about the failure of airline deregulation, others measure the process as a positive experience.

    Recently, the European Union has become member of the ‘open skies’-family. In three ‘packages’ of liberalisation measures in 1987, 1990 and 1992, the restrictions on the European air transport market were gradually fased out. In April 1997, the last barriers to competition were lifted. No more fixed prices, no more capacity agreements and designation restrictions would hinder airlines to enter routemarkets. The results of the liberalisation process are already visible. There are some new start-up-carriers creating price competition. There is more alliance-activity. ‘Peanut airlines’ like EasyJet and Virgin Express are emerging.
    But whereas a huge amount of literature exists about the effects of deregulation policies in Canada, Australia and especially the United States, most of the discussion about the results of liberalising Europe has been limited to prospects about the possible impacts of the ‘packages’ compared to the US. Only a few detailed and available empirical studies have been published recently (e.g. Civil Aviation Authority (1998), The single European aviation market: the first five years; Commission of the European Communities (1996), Impact of the third package of air transport liberalisation measures).

    So I was delighted when my supervisor at the university gave me the permission to visit the ‘8th World Conference on Transport Research’ to find out about the latest facts on Europe’s aviation market. It would possibly help doing my final thesis about the effects of European deregulation.

    The 12th of July, I went to Antwerp where the Conference would be held. The WCTR is one of world’s most important conferences on transport research and is being held every three years. It intends to provide an overview of the latest developments in research on a wide range of transport topics. Besides, the Conference offers the host-city an opportunity for city and region marketing. So I was regaled with the taste of a lot of excellent Flemish beers, a nightly visit to the flamingo-quarter in the Antwerp Zoo and a interesting tour through the port of Antwerp.

    More then thousand participants from all over the world attended this 8th WCTR in Antwerp. A similar number of papers were presented in 44 topic areas. One of the topic areas was the special-interest group ATRG. ATRG stands for Air Transport Research Group and is headed by the well-known Tae Oum from the University of British Columbia. About 50 papers on aviation-related topics were presented during five congress-days by quite famous names like Kenneth Button and William Swann. Some interesting things were put in advance during the ATRG-sessions.

    Firstly, deregulation remains one of the most important subjects in aviation research but the crisis in Asia is now making a mess of things. It is not clear at the moment which kind of effect the crisis is going to have on the process of liberalisation of the bilaterals between, e.g., the United States and Malaysia. Will the crisis lead to more protection of the national economies and re-regulation of some liberalised bilateral agreements? Or will the crisis bring high priests of deregulation like the US in a better position in negotiating the liberalisation of bilaterals?

    Neither the effects of the crisis on the industry as a whole are entirely clear. The airline industry faces a new kind of problem due to the existence of big regional alliances and global galaxies like Star Alliance and Global Excellence.
    Most major airlines are strongly related to one or more airlines on the other side of the world. Economic recessions and other prob-lems can have a serious ef-fect on the alliance-partners. The strike of the Northwest Air-lines’ pilots and the effect on KLM’s results is just an ex-ample of this interrelation-ship between alliance-partners.
    Although the Asian (and per-haps Latin-American) crisis might turn out as a disaster for some airlines, the crisis and the emergence of global galaxies and other types of alliances have brought about some fresh items for aviation research.

    Secondly, especially in Europe a lack of data on aviation exists. Whereas in the United States every year a ten percent ticket-sample is held, in Europe such a sam-ple doesn’t exist. As a result, research about the effects from liberalisation or other processes on changes in tar-iffs is extremely difficult. Exact, differentiated prices and passenger types per flight aren’t easily available. There-fore, it was not sur-prising that William Swann, professor of economics and working for Boeing, said: ‘It’s going to be difficult for researchers’. He mentioned that the lack of exact data might be one of the factors that have determined the relatively poor results of European liberalisation in respect to the US. In Europe, new entrants aren’t always able to get sufficient market information to form a strat-egy and compete with the incum-bents. In the US such a bar-rier doesn’t exist and entering a market is perhaps less diffi-cult. More market-informa-tion about prices, passenger types and transfer passengers is essential for researcher and might be es-sential for the success of a liberalised Euro-pean air transport market.

    Thirdly, the Air Transport Research Group wants to extend its activities and be-come the global organisation for aviation researchers. Re-cently, the ATRG has pub-lished its first two newslet-ters where one can find ref-erences of new publications and an-nouncements of re-gional and world congresses. The news-letter will be pub-lished on a regular basis. ATRG also has the purpose to function as a platform where researchers, policy-makers and managers can contact each other. A next ATRG-congress will be held in Hong-Kong in 1999

    ATRG has already made a good start. Three of the avia-tion papers were selected out of 900 papers, to be awarded top paper prizes, by the Con-ference’s Prize Committee. Amongst others, a Dutch paper from Youdi Schipper, Peter Nijkamp and Piet Riet-veld was awarded, called ‘Frequency equilibria and external costs in duopoly airline markets’.

    The 8th WCTR has been a useful experience. Not only because of the interesting results and the enrichment of my paper-collection. Maybe even more important was the possibility to get in contact with aviation-people from all over the world. When I was drinking a beer with a Greek and Japanese researcher in the Antwerp Zoo, evaluating the results of the Conference, I thought for a moment of the words from Albert Plesman. He was right: Aviation does connect nations. I am already saving money for Seoul 2001, 9th WCTR.

    Airline of the World: Air Canada

    By Hubert Croes

    As homage to the pioneers who back in 1937started Trans-Canada Airlines, Air Canada painted one of its Airbus A320 in the genuine metallic colours of its predecessor TCA. A nice unification of a rich history and modern technology, marking Air Canada’s development in sixty years. Being a partner in the Star Alliance, the Air Canada’s modern fleet connects Canada with the entire world.


    When a Trans-Canada Airlines Lockheed 10A flew from Vancouver to Seattle on September 1, 1937, it marked the first ever flight for the new company. There were only 71 employees at the time. Airline hostesses distributed gum, magazines and even packs of cigarettes to passengers! In 1949, TCA carried more than 21,000 passengers on transatlantic flights, bringing its total number of customers for that year to 685,000.

    In 1951, TCA introduced service from Montreal to Paris, via Reykjavik and London. Direct flights from Toronto to London started six years later. Tourist Class became available on transatlantic flights in 1952. The airline became the main cargo carrier between Canada, the U.K. and the rest of Europe. In 1957, TCA, also known as Air Canada, had 28,000 miles in route networks. More than two million passengers travelled to 56 cities; including 39 in Canada. On Super Constellations aircraft, individual meals were prepared in advance and served on china and silverware to First Class passengers.

    TCA officially changed its name to Air Canada in 1965 and embarked on a vast modernization programme that would last the entire decade. In addition to a new logo, the airline offered passengers all kinds of new services, including the first family, youth and seniors’ rates on flights within North America and the world’s most modern reservations system. Service to Florida, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean increased passenger traffic by 20 percent. Air Canada was the first North American carrier to offer scheduled service to the Soviet Union. In 1968, the company served 61 destinations and operated 15 transcontinental flights daily. Its earnings totalled $8 million.

    In 1971, the first Boeing 747 (365 seats) was put into service on a non-stop Toronto-Vancouver route, and then Toronto-London and Montreal-Paris. One year later, to increase customer loyalty among business people, Air Canada started its Rapidair® service between Montreal and Toronto. enRoute magazine began in 1973. On its 40th anniversary in 1977, Air Canada carried more than 12 million passengers and its earnings were $17.2 million.

    In 1980, 11 million hot meals and snacks were served on Air Canada flights. The company became the 10th largest airline in the world (according to the number of passenger-miles), and British journalist, Egon Ronay, ranked it among the top two airlines servicing the North Atlantic market. In 1984, Aeroplan® – a vast incentive programme for frequent flyers – was launched to help Air Canada maintain its competitive edge in the growing North American market. On its 50th anniversary, Air Canada operated 109 aircraft and one year later, the bill which paved the way for the privatization of Air Canada was passed, opening even more new horizons for the company.

    In 1991, Air Canada was the first airline to ban smoking on all its flights and later, the first to offer electronic ticketing, on-board telephones and personal TVs. In 1995, following the Open Skies Agreement signed by Jean Chrétien and Bill Clinton, the company introduced 99 direct flights per week to Florida.

    On December 12, 1996, Air Canada launched a new offensive in the North American marketplace with the official delivery of its first Airbus A319, a modern, cost-efficient aircraft that is perfectly suited to serve dozens of Canada-U.S. Open Skies routes.

    Fleet (renewal)

    At the delivery ceremony in Toulouse, Air Canada President & CEO, Lamar Durrett said that the airline was launching a ‘flying competitive advantage’. The A319 is a modern, comfortable aircraft, which flies further, uses less fuel, carries more passengers and costs less to operate.

    The Airbus A319 provides the airline with a new, cost-efficient and versatile fleet to eventually replace its DC-9 fleet. It offers 112 seats in a mixed Executive and Hospitality configuration, compared to the 132 seats in Air Canada’s current 34-aircraft A320 fleet.

    The range of the A319, as well as its passenger features and roomy cabin, are similar to the A320 and suited to Air Canada’s North American routes. “The A319 nicely fits our niche markets between those served by the 50-seat Canadair jet and the 132-seat A320,” added Durrett. “Just as our Open Skies routes between
    A modern A319 painted in TCA-colours
    Canada and the U.S. are growing and developing, the A319 is making its entrance. The timing couldn’t be better. It’s a perfect complement to the fleet and represents a distinct cost advantage over our competitors.”


    On 1 August last year, Air Canada announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire eight A330 and A340 aircraft from Airbus Industry, with options for 20 additional aircraft. Air Canada thus undertakes a three-year programme to replace its widebody fleet with fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft designed to reduce operating costs.

    Air Canada will take deliverance of five ultra-efficient twin-engine A330-300 high-gross- weight aircraft and three four-engine A340-300 aircraft. The new aircraft will replace its fleet of six Boeing 747-100/200 aircraft and two A340 aircraft currently under operating leases. The new Airbus aircraft will lower operating expenses significantly on the carrier’s long haul routes as well as provide maximum flexibility for a wide range of route structures. Deliveries are scheduled to be completed by August 2000.

    The second phase would consist of the delivery of five A340-500/600 aircraft, with options for an additional 10, beginning in 2002. Air Canada plans to acquire two A340-500 and three A340-600 aircraft. Once in operation, the A340-500 will seat 308 passengers, while the -600 version – designed for high density or slot constrained markets – will seat 360 passengers.

    Phase three would see up to eight additional widebody aircraft join the Air Canada fleet beginning as early as 2000. Three of these aircraft would replace the carrier’s Boeing 747-400 fleet, resulting in a standardized widebody fleet and added savings. The decision to implement this phase will be made during 1999.


    Consolidation of scheduled international air services at Montreal Dorval
    On 19 May last, Air Canada began twice-weekly non-stop service between Montreal and Tel Aviv. The airline already offered the only non-stop service to Tel Aviv from Toronto up to five times per week. With the launch of the new Montreal-Tel Aviv route, Air Canada now offers a daily non-stop service between Canada and Israel. The carrier is operating state-of-the-art Boeing 767-300 aircraft on the new route with seating capacity for 203 passengers.

    “The key to the economic viability of this service is a consolidated international and domestic operation at Dorval airport. Now that consolidation has happened, Air Canada has the opportunity to launch new air services,” said Jean-Jacques Bourgeault, Senior Executive Vice President at a downtown Montreal business luncheon on the occasion of the inaugural flight.

    Effective July 2, 1998, Air Canada and Royal Jordanian introduced codeshare service between Canada and Amman, Jordan via London (Heathrow). Under the codeshare agreement, Air Canada is able to offer customers originating from Canada economy seats on up to four Royal Jordanian flights a week between London (Heathrow) and Amman. Conversely, Royal Jordanian customers have access to Hospitality Class seats on Air Canada flights from London to Toronto/Montreal. Co-ordinated schedules ensure fast, convenient, same-terminal connections in London (Heathrow).

    Another step in the consolidation of scheduled international flights at Dorval airport is the launch, on May 1 last, with Star Alliance partner Lufthansa of non-stop, daily air service between Montreal and Frankfurt. The new service offers the only scheduled non-stop flights linking Montreal and Germany and saves travellers at least two hours over current Montreal-Frankfurt routings via other airports.

    Air Canada is undertaking the Montreal-Frankfurt route as a joint venture with Lufthansa. In addition to Lufthansa selling seats on a codeshare basis, both airlines are sharing equally operating costs and revenues from the route, thus enabling them to offer their customers the convenience of daily non-stop service year-round.

    “This is an important initiative for Air Canada and Lufthansa, for Montreal International Airport and for the Montreal region,” said Air Canada Senior Executive Vice President, Jean Jacques Bourgeault. “Consolidation is working. We are seeing more and more connecting passengers from cities like Halifax, Ottawa and Boston on our international flights to London and Paris. Each and every day, Montreal becomes more of a connecting hub for international travellers.”
    Flights on the new route are operated with Air Canada wide body Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Flights have been timed to ensure the best possible choice of connecting flights to numerous destinations, including Berlin, Prague, Athens and Copenhagen, at Lufthansa’s main hub in Frankfurt.

    Lufthansa passengers will now have convenient and direct access to Montreal and points throughout Eastern North America. The launch of today’s non-stop service to Frankfurt accelerates the process of building Dorval’s air services.

    Canadian Air Policy

    Air Canada’s President and Chief Executive Officer, R. Lamar Durrett has been lobbying for a change in Canada’s policy, which currently restricts airline access to overseas markets while other countries conclude new Open Skies agreements with the United States. As a result, travellers might bypass Canada. Market growth, jobs and economic expansion will go to foreign carriers and U.S. cities instead of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

    Air Canada has consistently indicated its desire to add more frequencies to its current service from Vancouver to Hong Kong, and to introduce a daily service from Toronto. The carrier also informed the government of its readiness to launch new routes from Canada to Taipei, Amsterdam, Milan and to Mexico City so that Air Canada can compete with the foreign airlines that currently dominate these markets. The airline wants to build on the successful experience with Canada U.S. Open Skies so that similar open market arrangements can be put in place with all of Canada’s major overseas markets. “That is the direction the rest of the world is moving.”

    The changes to the international air policy announced by the Minister of Transport, David Collenette, however disappointed Air Canada. The sole new route authority granted to the airline is that from Toronto to Hong Kong. However, initiation of that route cannot begin until Canada and Hong Kong re-negotiate their bilateral air services agreement. Air Canada also welcomed the additional codeshare opportunities, which will enable the airline to strengthen its links with its Star Alliance partners, although the airline is disappointed in the conditions imposed on the exercise of these rights.

    The minister denied Air Canada’s request to increase its existing Vancouver-Hong Kong service to a daily operation. He also turned down Air Canada’s requests to launch new routes to Amsterdam and Milan, two cities which now do not receive scheduled airline services by any Canadian carrier, as well as rejecting Air Canada’s requests to launch new routes to Taipei and Mexico City.

    “In sum there is nothing in today’s announcement that provides short term relief from the government imposed roadblock on the international expansion of Air Canada. Once again Air Canada has been told to put a brake on its international expansion plans while our main competitors, U.S. and other foreign carriers, remain free to offer Canadians convenient connections to the same international destinations.”

    Air Canada is particularly disappointed that its request for authority to initiate service from Vancouver to Taipei was turned down given that it believes the market already exceeds the threshold for second carrier designation under the old policy framework introduced in 1994.

    Air Canada Today

    Today, Air Canada is Canada’s largest airline, operating a fleet of around 245 aircraft (including its regional subsidiar-ies), and offering more than 1,200 scheduled and charter flights to 120 destinations in Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia every day. Besides that it offers computerized reservations services to the Canadian travel industry, as well as maintenance, ground handling and training services to other airlines.

    Air Canada is fully privatized and employs nearly 24,000 people worldwide. This profitable company is valued at nearly $5 billion and is a founding partner of the Star Alliance.

    Aerius in Dubai

    By Alex Klein

    The EVA Air jumbo left Amsterdam Schiphol one hour late due to ‘Air Traffic Control-problems.’ The plane landed 45 minutes late though and was still loading cargo at departure time. Anyway it gave the group more time to get to know eachother. At 12.45 the 747-400 Combi took off, on board 15 Aerius members and a few other passengers for a 6,5 hour flight to Dubai International Airport (DXB). The plane was half-empty and that gave us enough opportunity to wander around. The in-flight entertainment was OK, getting better depending on the class. The meals tasted good, although the amount was fitted more to the size of our fellow passengers, almost all being from Taiwan and thereabout. We Europeans were still hungry. Service on board was great, the cabin crew being all Taiwanese and very kind and helpful. The captain was a genuine Englishman.

    At 08.50 PM local time (the difference with Holland is 2 hours), we landed at DXB and after entering the airport terminal we were immediately confronted with the Arabian culture. Men walking around in their white ‘gowns,’ women dressed in black from head to toe, leaving only a small window for them to see the world. The Arab national dresses are adapted to the high temperatures and religious beliefs in the region. Men wear an ankle-length, loose fitting garment known as a kandoura or dishdasha. This is usually made of white cotton. On the head men wear a small white crocheted cap, the gahfia or tagia. This is covered by the gutra, a long cloth of white cotton, which is kept in place by the igal, a double black woollen braid around the top of the head. Women usually wear a long sleeved, full-length dress which is also called a kandoura. This is often elaborately embroidered in gold, silver or coloured threads. The hair must be covered and the face may also be covered by a thin veil, gishwa.

    Robert-Paul had instructed us to go to the passport control to announce our arrival. ‘They’ would know we were coming. Except that the person we encountered didn’t know. And with his posture and formal clothing arguing probably wouldn’t help. We had to fill in the necessary immigration forms first. For people living in a borderless Europe this had slipped our minds. With 15 passports and 15 immigration forms Ronald, our chairman, left the group. We sure hoped he would come back to preside the Aerius meetings… There were no problems, so after going through customs we entered the Arabian night, and a warm one it was. Robert-Paul was awaiting us with his video camera. He had travelled to Dubai before us to make the last arrangements. As he had been in Dubai more often, even passing a longer period of time on an internship with KLM, he knew his way around and had met plenty of interesting people on these previous visits.

    Outside the airport terminal we found ourselves in the middle of a 24-hour transport market. Our hotel bus hadn’t arrived yet, but the representative was already there. This was quickly detected and Arabians, Pakistanis and Indians flocked around us offering taxis, buses and even limousines. This appealed to us so we gave our representative a hard time bargaining low prices. Of course he never gave in.

    At about ten PM we arrived at The Imperial Suites, our hotel for the next ten days. The rooms were large although we somewhat missed the luxury of the four stars they had. The airco worked fine though, keeping the place at about fifteen degrees Celsius. The large temperature changes between inside and outside was something we had to get used to. It left a few people with a cold. We divided ourselves in groups of three and looked for our rooms. Since the last meal we had was in the plane we decided to get something to eat. Turning fifteen noses in the same direction, as the Dutch saying goes, is hard and cheap local meals are not available at every streetcorner so we ended up at the end of our own street in a genuine McDonalds restaurant; the burgers tasted as we knew they would. Local food would have to wait until the next day.

    Shopping malls and souks

    The next day, Saturday, was reserved for a day in town. ‘Culturewise’ there is plenty to see in the city and Robert-Paul had prepared an excursion, so he showed us around. We took the hotel bus to the City Centre Shopping Mall, a huge construction, beautifully built two stories high packed with shops. Going up the escalator we were awing at the luxury around us, passing by jewellery, leather and clothing shops, IKEA, a hypermarket and a foodcourt, a large space with small take-away restaurants at the sides and tables in the centre, all of it in the surroundings of a small amusement park. We walked back to a smaller mall just for a second impression and then started our actual city-tour. It also started to get hot at that point, this being about eleven AM. We would have to get used to that as well.

    Our first visit was to the souks. The souks are marketplaces situated on both sides of the Dubai Creek and attractive for their bargains and sightseeing. Walking through a huddle of narrow alleys one can find attractive traditional Middle Eastern gifts such as coffeepots, rugs, silverware, jewellery, brass, inlaid rosewood, furniture, etc. In the textile souk with its narrow streets and small shops with the merchandise stacked into it one can find shops selling veils with decorated edges made from silk in a variety of designs, patterns and sizes, pantalons with embroided anklets, kandouras and dishdashas.

    We followed our way to the Dubai Creek, the historic focal pont of Dubai life, a natural sea-water inlet which cuts through the centre of the city. We had to cross the Creek to get to the other side. Since there are only two bridges, most people cross the Creek by small wooden boats, abra’s. So did we, ‘saving’ us taxi costs…, the whole ride not costing us more than 25 ct. This price, of course, is negotiable. It is a most beautiful way of crossing the water bringing back the charm of the old days. One is captivated by the colour and bustle of the loading and unloading of dhows which still ply ancient trade routes to places as distant as India and East Africa. The surroundings are state-of-the-art skyscrapers, hiding what is left of the old city, which isn’t that much.

    Walking along the other side, we first passed the spice souk. Entering these tiny alleys the thick scent and atmosphere of the past can be savoured. Street after street you will find bags of all kinds of spices, ginger, incense, rose petals and traditional medicinal products stacked outside each stall.
    The gold souk is made up of larger streets, with shop windows sparkling towards you as you pass by the windows crammed with gold necklaces, rings, bangels, earrings and brooches made from 18 carat fine gold to 21 carat red gold. If you want to take a more detailed look at the masterful craftsmanship of some of the jewels it is advisable to go into the shops. A large amount of the sparkles is due to the large lamps lighting the windows, making you end up sweating, even during the evenings.

    When buying at the souks it is considered normal to bargain. The vendors will attack you with fairly high prices, typing them viciously on their calculators. Just take your time and don’t pay much attention to them. Besides, there is a fixed gold price at the airports, if you find those out you will have a clue what is reasonable.

    Even taxi fares are negotiable in certain taxis. It’s great fun to do. Same goes for the boats crossing the Creek. Although the fares are humiliating in our eyes, I guess it’s the principle that counts; it is never nice to get the feeling you are cheated, so don’t pay that much attention to sad faces when you pay the actual price. Beware of language tricks when negotiating prices like thirteen or fifteen dirhams. They can easily be mistaken for thirty or fifty…

    Hospitality is among the most highly prized virtues of the Arab world. The kindness of the people is real. It is a genuine friendliness and much appreciated. Sometimes though it can go too far. When relying on a taxi driver, of all people, to know his way around town, one may end up completely wrong. They have a tendency to say: “yes, I know where that is”, and afterwards drive in the opposite direction. It probably never occurred to them that we wouldn’t mind if they didn’t know.

    Dubai Cargo Village

    Whereas it is weekend on Sundays in Europe, it is a labour day in the Emirates and our first day of a series of visits to interesting aviation related companies. We started the day with a visit to the Dubai Cargo Village, which is the cargo terminal of Dubai International Airport, where we were addressed by the Assistant Director. DCV was opened midst of 1991 and emerged as the cargo hub of the Middle East, not only serving the traditional Arab world, but also Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and increasing new markets further away. Europe is usually a final destination.

    Located adjacent to the international airport the Cargo Village comprises a gigantic purpose-built complex, thanking its success to a perfect co-ordination with other cargo related institutions such as Customs, DNATA (the local handling agent) and the Dubai Ports Authority. The international airport serves over 80 airlines, flying in passengers and cargo from every corner of the world. In addition Dubai harbours two large ports, Port Rashid and Jebel Ali, which are regular ports of call for the world’s major shipping lines. Thus, the Cargo Village is the place where East meets West. As such its motto goes: ‘from dhows to 747 freighters.’

    We were led around by the Customer Service Assistant, who, being new at his job, had a good opportunity to practice. He showed us the import/export side of the building telling us about the logistics and showing us some smart technical equipment to move the goods around. We walked through the guarded safehouses for (semi-) valuable and dangerous goods and, since the hot outside air could enter the building freely, he even showed us the freezing cells for perishable goods, a kind gesture which we welcomed with open arms and … suit-jackets.

    Emirates flying school

    The afternoon was spent visiting the Emirates flying school, a remarkable building housing the training centre for cabin crew and pilots of Emirates, Dubai’s national carrier. Entering through the rear one can walk through the ‘wings’, housing the technical/ engineering workshops and simulators and through the ‘fuselage’, where the offices are located, to the ‘cockpit’, the General Manager’s office.

    A humorous Englishman looking like Sean Connery led us around. We started out with a session on the simulator, a part of a fuselage used for cabin crew and pilot training. There is a swimming pool on one side of the simulator to practice ‘wet landings’; the other side is plain concrete, obviously used for hard surface landings. It is a masterpiece of technique capable of doing almost anything from simulating bad weather conditions, turbulence and technical faults to the reproduction of real accidents. These programmes are used to find out the cause of accidents and training pilots for the worst.

    We boarded the simulator, sat down, buckled up and awaited our fate. The simulator started to taxi on different runways, smooth examples and rough ones, before taking off. Outside it turned night with the change of a switch and not very long after one of the engines caught fire, the windows turning orange. This was followed by turbulence and cabin decompression due to a door being blown out. The cabin filled with smoke and a roaring sound followed, accompanied by the taped screams of people in distress. The fuselage creaked frightfully. Bouncing around in our chairs we chose the emergency position and got ready for the finale, a crash landing on a hard surface. In reality it all happened at approximately six metres above the ground. Not surprisingly we all left the plane alive. We were assured though that the experience could be much worse with the example of an Airbus employee who came out deathly pale and hoped never to experience this in real life. Emirates’ philosophy is that experience is the best way to learn…

    A less thrilling part followed. Next was a visit to the engineering department, a series of workshops teaching the ins and outs of aircraft engineering, from securing nuts and bolts to overhauling complete engines. Seeing all these parts (totalling over a million) leaves quite a good impression of the magnitude of an aeroplane and the sensitivity with which it works.

    The group had planned spending the rest of the evening at the beach club connected to the hotel, though we never reached it. The reception had sent us to a club with a similar name where we found out this happened more often. Unluckily admittance was for members only. So we had to spend the rest of the time at the beach next door. The sand and the sea were the same so we didn’t end up that bad; the surroundings though were less luxurious. We had a great time and ended the day with a good local meal (mostly Lebanese) at a nice restaurant.

    Free Zones and other local incentives

    The next morning we departed early to Jebel Ali Free Zone, the first of a visit to three Free Zones in the Emirates. The half thirty minute drive took us through the Dubai suburbs and along the Jumeira Beach hotel, a 25-story building, built in the shape of a dhows’ sail, triangular and slightly curved. This beautiful building looks like a midget though compared to its neighbour, the half finished Chicago Beach hotel, a building about four times as high and peeking into the sky with its futuristic skittle shape. It is named to be one of the world’s highest hotels and you can see its shape along the coastline going North or South.

    At Jebel Ali we were invited into a large conference room and received a large amount of information and a general story on their activities. The Free Zone is part of the Jebel Ali port complex, which sprung out of the visionary mind of the sheikhs, and was set up in 1985 to encourage investment in industry. The zone is also ideally situated for trading and warehousing. Investors are offered a host of incentives such as a tax-free regime, full foreign ownership, and full rights to repatriate capital and profit and a superb infrastructure.
    This information was followed by a tour over the quays looking at rows of high stapled containers (not leaving much sightseeing) ready to be shipped, and the occasional large cargo freighter. We could ask our questions at the Marketing Department. We were introduced to a man in his late twenties. He turned out to be of great help and was very much interested in our activities in Dubai. He himself had studied in San Francisco and had been abroad elsewhere on several occasions promoting the Jebel Ali Free Zone activities. During our stay we met him more often and he was pleased to lead us around Dubai on several occasions.

    These same Free Zone activities are conducted at Sharjah Free Zone, about 30 km South of Dubai in the Emirate of the same name (Sharjah) and the second largest hub of Lufthansa. We went here on Tuesday while visiting Sharjah International Airport, primarily used by the former Russian countries for passengers and cargo. As it happened more often we were not expected, although the arrangements were confirmed the day before. So the programme was made up just there and then. Apart from the building itself we also visited the meteo department, the tower and Air Traffic Control. We were given clear and interesting information on the activities, most of them carried out by foreigners, some living in the Emirates, some only there for a season and coming back each year. Nice summer job!!

    On our way to the cargo handling centre and the Free Zone we came along a crossing with an aeroplane coming from the right, so we had to give way. I guess we would have done this all the same if it had come from the left. Besides, our traffic light jumped to red. It was a Lufthansa Cargo B747 Jumbo crossing our path. It was quite an exciting experience letting the plane roll by so close and feeling the heat from the exhaust. We were allowed to take pictures outside the bus, so we didn’t let the opportunity pass.

    The Free Zone activities are fairly the same compared to Jebel Ali. There is a certain competition although slight. Jebel Ali emphasises its longer experience and ready to use infrastructure, office buildings and housing facilities whereas Sharjah tries more to give a cheaper service thus attracting interested parties through a cost advantage rather than experience.

    Adapting to the Dubai life is rather easy with the slow, heavy evenings. Most shops in the large malls as well as in the sultry warmth of the souks are open till ten PM so the streets are quite full of locals and tourists, giving it an awkward look. These nights are nice for boatrides along the shores of the creek, with its cool breeze.

    Dubai Airport

    We were expected at the CAA-offices in the head terminal and led, again, to a beautiful, large conference room. A large part of the story concerned the future plans of the Airport. A major building operation has already started and will completely change the infrastructure, and place the airport well into the next century. Near the end of the presentation the Director General of the CAA entered and gave us the opportunity to ask questions. We followed our indoor tour to ATC and the tower, both staffed once again by many foreigners. At Abu Dhabi Airport one will see the same situation. Since we had had a large explanation at Sharjah, it was even more interesting seeing the tower and ATC again. The sky above Dubai, however, is busier than at Sharjah, especially during nighttime, so we witnessed more approaches and landings. In the daytime hours it can even be boring though… The tower controllers always bring books with them just in case.

    The outside part of the tour brought us along the building sites towards the Emirates hangars with… no plane inside, to the recently opened new Terminal 2. On the way we experienced the equivocal problems of the multicultural society. The Vietnamese busdriver apparently didn’t quite understand the direction our Arab escort asked him to go to, shouting over a roaring airconditioner. Finally the driver gave him the thumbs up, but drove completely in the wrong direction though. When we arrived we had a look at the tax-free shops and were allowed to buy goodies. We entered the first class lounge with the smell of leather and fresh paint still hanging inside. The terminal will mainly be used for charter flights and isn’t busy yet. There is still plenty of slot-time available.

    Back at the car park we experienced the ever recurring problem of driving away, or not, in a car that had been standing in the sun for a couple of hours. Usually it is the driver who ends up entering the car, turning on the ignition and the airco and making a quick exit to await cooler moments. Awaiting cooler moments under a blistering sun still isn’t relaxing.

    Thursday morning we got up early to get ready for a two-hour car ride to Abu Dhabi, the Emirate north of Dubai. The road went along the desert all the way, until a few kilometres before the airport where the dry land was grown over with thick green grass and colourful plants and flowers, all of it artificially cultivated and irrigated.

    Abu Dhabi is a more conservative and strict Emirate compared to Dubai and more the oil-exporting centre of the UAE. At the airport we weren’t allowed to take photographs and an armed guard escorted us all the way. Nevertheless, we were shown the whole building, including the very colourful tax-free area and VIP-lounges. A visit to the tower and ATC was also included.

    Before going to the city centre we also visited a company named GAMCO (Gulf Air Maintenance COmpany), a company dedicated to the maintenance of aircraft. Many airlines come here for maintenance and they also conduct workshops on engineering and maintenance of new aeroplane types. It is actually a large hangar made to fit several wide-body planes, with large storage facilities, not only for spare parts but also for the extensive literature accompanying those parts. Moreover, it contains several smaller areas for maintenance and testing. This maintenance includes overhauling different parts, extensive cleaning, painting, metalwork and refurbishing of the inside. It was a long tour and although not every item was understandable due to the lack of our technical knowledge, it was interesting to realize the magnitude of the construction of an aeroplane, sometimes with over a million parts, and the sensitiveness with which it must be handled.

    Halfway the evening we drove to the city of Abu Dhabi, at least to get an idea of the sights. It probably has more high-rise buildings than Dubai and since they block most of the view we decided to drive into no particular direction and see where it would get us.

    Processing information at the poolside

    The day before we went to visit FedEx, we remained at the poolside working on our assignments, arranging papers and thoughts, making phonecalls for more information or even taking interviews, processing the information we had already gathered during our previous company visits. During the evenings we went into the city centre to buy souvenirs for home and get some more taste of the local food. It was time well spent.


    The last company visit we did as whole group (we also had individual meetings set up that were needed for our individual research papers) was on Saturday, visiting FedEx. This American com-pany, the world’s largest parcel and postal service, has one of its main hubs in Du-bai. During our visit in May, FedEx was still situated in the Dubai Cargo Village in a rather small space, but a new and much larger complex was being built at the other side of the airport (should be ready by now…).

    We were greeted by the Vice President Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, Mr Hamdi A. Osman and the hub and ramp manager Mr Vivek Ashoka in the board-room of the Cargo Village, a well-known place to us by now. We were told how FedEx started its business and how it has expanded its activities in a qualitative and quantitative growing global network with several large hubs or distribution points around the world. The story was supported by an all-American sales promotion video. The information though was very clear and complete.

    This was followed by a visit to the Cargo Village site. There we were lead around and shown the process of the conveying of packages. Since Dubai is a hub many packages only pass through and have to be routed to their next destination. This re-quires a smart logistics system and that was exactly the shortcoming of this place. The decision was taken to build a new and larger com-plex nearby that could easier cope with the larger supply of packages and at the same time would have a more modern distribution system working faster and more efficiently. To accommodate the people working at FedEx larger offices are built. The design of the new complex was made by the managing director who, having spent quite some time with FedEx in Dubai, had a good idea of how it needed to be. It was an impressive and sophisti-cated building and Mr Os-man was proud to show it to us.

    After the ‘tour’ the hub and ramp manager took us to a Mexican restaurant on the tenth floor of a Dubai hotel. There we enjoyed the abundant meal – offered to us by FedEx of genuine Mexican food and we talked about our trip and the acquired impres-sions of the last nine days. We talked with Mr Ashoka about career possibilities in the United Arab Emirates, living abroad in general, life and work in Dubai and the experiences we had during our time there.

    We returned to the Nether-lands in a full aeroplane, although most of us didn’t care and slept the larger part of the trip, only to wake up for the meal and movie, and landed safely in the evening. Almost a month later we all gathered at the University and enjoyed the pictures and the video Robert Paul had made. Hopefully Aerius will organize a similar trip next year. It was a great experi-ence, and I can advise it to everyone!

    Jet Link – First Dutch airline in over 15 years

    An interview with the President of Jet Link

    by René Graafland and Alex Klein

    After being a sales agent for many years, serving other airlines, Jet Link now started their own airlines. Jet Link has engaged its operations in begin Sep-tem-ber with their newly trans-formed Airbus A-300, another plane has been ordered. This beautiful example of entrepreneur ship was a good reason for our reporters to interview the President/owner of Jetlink, Mr Sobhy Abdel-Messeh. On the follow-ing pages you can read the report of their interesting talk.

    Education Business Administration at the University of Cairo, Egypt
    Television mainly news; I hear the news on the BBC, CNN and Egyptian radio and television
    Music classical and Arab music are favourites
    Book last quarterly news on the airbus… I read a book on President Sadat, because he is a leader. I like to know what he is doing. You keep learning what goes on in Egypt. If you have no roots you are a lost person.
    Sport some golf.
    Food I eat everything, Dutch cuisine is healthy; I have no preferences.
    Wake up for love, not for work.
    City Venice although I have not been there often; no time.
    Country Holland, I relax here.
    Season when snowing it is beautiful.
    Holiday summer vacation with the children to the Red Sea region in Egypt.

    When did you first decide to start the company Jet Link?

    That was in 1991. Then came the Gulf War, so it was very difficult to move our main trade, vegetables, from the Middle East to Europe. It was a very high-risk area then.

    Jet Link International started in 1991; but when did you decide to start your own airline?

    Most of the aircraft we chartered were old Boeing 707s and DC-8s. Martinair for example used to fly cargo with an Airbus before, but now their cargo-fleet consists of Boeing 747s and MD-11s, but you just cannot use these on the short routes we fly, that would be too expensive. You need an aircraft that is reliable and you need a company that adheres to the applicable rules of law. We, as a charter company depend on the owner of the aircraft. If we use a Dutch aircraft under Dutch law it has to be a reliable airline. There is a new company in the market now with a new aircraft which, according to the law, is chapter 3 qualified so it can also land at Schiphol Airport.

    We understood during the lecture Mr Thijsse gave at the University that you fly green beans from Egypt to Holland. Is that the only thing you fly?

    It is the only produce they have in Egypt. They also have textile but it is not that much. But now they have started with flowers, so it will be easier to import the flowers from Egypt than importing them from Nairobi, Kenya. Nairobi is ten hours flying and Egypt only 4,5 to 5 hours, so the cost of the plane will be much less. Egypt is a big country with a lot of land and now there is the so-called Toshka project with which they are trying to cultivate parts of the desert for the growth of new plant-life. This should create more opportunities for us too.

    Why did you choose to fly an Airbus for your cargo?

    It is the best aircraft to follow up the Boeing 707 and DC-8, otherwise you would have to take the step to the Boeing 757, which is too expensive and even carries less payload. Flowers for example, or cellphones which we ship from France and Scandinavia to the Middle East and Gulf-region, or even PC’s and photocopiers from Holland, are articles that take volume, not weight. The Airbus has twice the volume of the Boeing 757 and it can carry about 2 tonnes

    more of weight. Most of the cargo we carry has a large volume. Shipping the green beans from the Middle East to Europe means we don’t have to fly empty. We have to fly this leg anyway, so having a payload makes the overall costs lower.

    Otherwise you would have to charge the costs of the return flight too…

    Yes, flying the empty leg will be settled in the total price otherwise. And being an Egyptian with an office and another airline in Egypt…

    You also have an Egyptian airline?

    We also own Tristar Airways, an Egyptian airline, which gives us more flexibility at the airport to do our own handling.

    How many planes fly at Tristar?

    We just have our permit, but also an option for one Airbus.

    So, one Airbus for Tristar Airways and two for Jet Link?


    When do you hope to start flying the Airbus for Jet Link in the Netherlands?

    Well, the Airbus is ready but of course you need the papers, certification and so on, from the Dutch Civil Aviation Authorities and this takes time. We hoped to start flying around April 1st of this year, but this is now delayed until begin September.

    Were you always fascinated by aviation? Or did you just want to make money?

    Aviation doesn’t make money! It is a high risk, high investment and very low profit business.

    You wanted to have your own airline then?

    Well, if we don’t have this airline how do we continue our business? We have to have the airline to function.

    Is that why you have Jet Link International?

    Jet Link International is an airline representative; we represent several airlines like China Eastern, Syrian Arab Airlines and this was started in 1991.

    What did you do before that?

    In 1982 I started a cargo-only airline, which was quite a well-known company around here. I was the owner. The airline started with one aircraft, and when I left in 1988 it already had six. I left because they started a passenger service and this is not financially interesting for a private person. Passenger operations cost a lot of money and already the profit margin is very thin. When flying cargo one exactly knows the costs/ expenses making it easier to calculate the profits or the break-even point or even the losses. You can know all of this in advance.
    And if you have scheduled passenger flights you always have to fly, if you have either 2 passengers or 200, and someone has to pay these costs. That is when I decided to start my own airline, because it just can’t work.

    So in 1988 you left and in 1991 you founded Jet Link International…?

    Yes, and before that I had another company called United Air Carriers, I was a partner, but we couldn’t continue together so I left and started Jet Link.

    And before you started working, what education did you follow?

    I studied Business Administration in Egypt until my 23rd. Then I left Egypt and stayed in Italy for 3 years working there. It was a difficult time for an Egyptian to move but I decided to come to Holland, and found the Dutch people to be very helpful. The Dutch speak English for example. This was in 1972. I liked it a lot here; there is life in this country and many things are easier to accomplish. In Holland I worked for the Hilton hotel for two and a half years followed by another two and a half years at the Sonesta. Since 1977 I have the Dutch nationality and in that year I started my own import/ export company being the sole agent for Curver plastic household articles. This is also when I started the green beans import from Egypt.

    When talking about representation, what kind of activities does that include?

    We act as an airline office, as the airline, so we have a ticketing office, sell seats, handle the aircraft, we have a counter for checking-in, we help at the airport and we have a station manager who goes to meet the aircraft. We collect money on behalf of the airlines and also do their advertising.

    How many people are involved in these activities?

    Thirteen people work here at HQ in Hoofddorp and at Schiphol another 2 at the counter and 4 at Reservations.

    What are the relations between Jet Link International, Jet Link Holland and Job Air?

    Jet Link Holland has a Qual-ity manager, an Assistant, an operation director and a director maintenance, nine people in total. Job Air is a sister company with 3 people, my wife and 2 others. Profitability at Jet Link Holland will take a year or … but according to plan we hope to break even next year; this is a high goal but manageable. There is a growth potential for Jet Link. We don’t want to become too big though. You would need more planes then, but you must have work for the aircraft before it comes. Be-sides, too many people may give responsibility problems.

    When you graduated, did you want to do something specific with aviation?

    No, it was just because I was chartering German cargo. This was around 1978/ 1979 and never a prepared idea, I just came into the business. A Lufthansa Boeing 707 flew from Cairo to Frankfurt and Martinair flew a DC-9 from Cairo to Amsterdam, empty. So we bought that space and sold it by the kilo. I used it to fly the beans, I don’t trade them.

    So, one of the fist activities of Jet Link was transport-ing cargo from Egypt to Holland?

    Yes, especially those green beans because it is the same quality as the Dutch ones so much appreciated here.

    We started off talking about keeping a low profile. How do you combine your work as representative with start-ing your own airline? How will your representees know you will not compete with them?

    All of them know, and they are all happy that I am having my own aircraft because it also adds value to their activities. They don’t have any cargo planes. We won’t compete with others; we create our own possibilities. We don’t copy; we will enter a niche. And if they need the aircraft they can use it. Even if KLM has an overload they can hand it to us if we fly to that destination. So it helps them. Some people would think it is a conflict of interest.

    Well, you can imagine there could be, but it depends on your strategy, your philosophy?

    Before I do anything, or accept a new airline, I have to inform the airlines I represent that a company has approached me and offered me to represent them. If there were any conflict I would have to make a choice.

    Are you a very hands-on person? Are you the oil in the machine that keeps things spinning smoothly?

    No, I did this kind of work before and I still do it because I like to do it. I delegate the work to people who are qualified to do the job.

    And to conclude this, what is your opinion on a second airport? When you start flying the Airbus, will you always fly to Schiphol or also to, for example, Maastricht Airport?

    I would prefer Oostende in Belgium or Schiphol. Oostende is a big cargo hub. Since 1991 we also have an office there. Besides it is halfway between France and the Netherlands and across the Channel from the United Kingdom.

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