Go Aviation Middle East gives private jet owners ramp envy


An A319ACJ (A6-CJE) operated by Emirates.

When people assess the state of the business jet industry, they tend to look at delivery figures or perhaps how fast pre-owned aircraft are trading, but Go Aviation Middle East, a full-service aircraft appearance company based in the UAE, says it has a unique insight into the market.

“We are in an interesting position in the industry as we see first hand how clients are upgrading or expanding their fleet,” says president Dennis Cruz.

Go Aviation offers a range of services including paint restoration, interior cleaning, brightwork polishing, gear detailing, wet wash and dry wash services, which it introduced to the Middle East. The company is close to tying-up a partnership that will add significant value to their menu of services.

With corporate airliners built by Airbus and Boeing playing a big role in the Middle East’s business jet fleet, it is clear that appearance is big business in the region. Cruz says a contract for a Boeing Business Jet could cost anywhere between $3,000 and $30,000 per service, depending on the level of detail and polishing requested by the customer.

Contracts with MEBA, Dubai Air Show and Emirates

The company was recently awarded the multiple year contract to clean, polish and maintain the overall appearance of the aircraft on the static display at last December’s Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show and the upcoming Dubai Air Show.

“It was the first time we have been awarded this contract,” says Marc Lelah, vice president of Go Aviation. “It makes the most sense to utilise a local company that is capable when considering the equipment, supplies and manpower that is required for cleaning and polishing so many aircraft in a short period of time.”

One of the jewels of the MEBA show was an Airbus A319ACJ (msn 4822 / A6-CJE), the first ever corporate jet operated by Emirates. This is an aircraft that Go Aviation knows particularly well, recently signing a contract with Emirates for VVIP aircraft appearance services.

Scientific approach

Cruz is very keen to be able to prove the success of the company’s methods to its customers. “We do not want it to be judged only by the eye, we want to provide our clients facts and figures,” he says.

For polishing services, the company takes an initial gloss measurement based on a scale of 1-100. The customer is then given a report of what Go Aviation is able to offer them. When their aircraft is returned after service, they are given a new report that shows the aircraft’s improved gloss reading, as well as before and after photos.

“We took a sample reading from the red stripe on a customer’s Gulfstream GIV; we were able to improve that from 21 to 87,” says Lelah. “A brand new aircraft usually has a gloss measurement of around 97, but that’s only if they’ve done a fantastic job on it.”

Middle Eastern migration

Go Aviation’s roots are in the US, where it offered similar services for business and commercial aircraft under a different name. The company continues to recruit its management from the US and UK, but now finds its labour from Nepal, Bangladesh, Philippines and Pakistan.

Before moving to Dubai, the company worked with a number of Middle Eastern flight departments and began to look into further opportunities in the region.“We received our first invitation from a Middle Eastern flight department in 2006,” says Cruz.

“It takes a serious investment of capital and time,” adds Cruz, who is currently setting up new bases in the UAE and KSA.

Like all business aviation companies in the UAE, Go Aviation has had to adapt to the bulk of the region’s activity shifting from Dubai International Airport to Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum Airport, with last year’s runway closures signalling the start of a long-term migration.

“We welcomed the shift to DWC,” says Lelah. “There is so much potential there and so much being developed. Our clients have been able to rely on us 24/7 to keep their aircraft looking great, considering the sandy and windy conditions at DWC.”

“We did not come to Dubai expecting much business from DWC, but last year it was a good percentage of our business. It was pretty astounding for us when we looked at the numbers.”

The company has been able to develop healthy relationships with the FBOs at Dubai World Central – Jet Aviation Execujet, DC Al-Futtaim Aviation and Jetex – some of which are also authorised service centres for several OEMs.

Ramp Envy

Go Aviation’s latest offering is an all–inclusive, flat-rate monthly programme that incorporates a smartphone app called Ramp Envy, which is currently undergoing beta testing, before it is launched in the spring.

Ramp Envy is open to all clients and is based on the size of the aircraft, the frequency of flight time, and the customer’s goals for the appearance of the aircraft.

“Customers will be able to use the app to schedule service and track the appearance history of their aircraft that includes before and after photos,” says Lelah. “We don’t want to give away all of our secrets, but our clients will be receiving a nice treat with our Ramp Envy App.”