Doha, Rizon Jet, Doha based corporate jet operator in a press conference, outlined its business strategy and challenges ahead and criticized Qatar Civil Aviation Authority by creating obstacles.

Rizon Jet was founded in Sharjah, UAE in 2006. Consequence to the Qatari council of minister’s decision to permit private sector investment in air taxi, air ambulance and large cargo aircraft. Rizon Jet among 15 investors applied for an operating license in Qatar.  Seven were shortlisted and invited to complete the process of obtaining an Air Operator Permit (AOP).  In May 2009 Rizon Jet was awarded an AOP.

In February 2009, the Qatari prime minister approved the allocation of an area for Rizon Jet at Doha International Airport to construct a private VIP terminal for passengers arriving and departing on private jets, the construction of a hangar for aircraft maintenance and aircraft parking. The construction of the VIP facility at Doha International Airport was completed in July 2011, with official launch in March 2012. 

During 2012 Rizon Jet aircraft operated 1,039 flights, to 91 airports across 4 continents. Out of the 1,472 private and corporate flights out of Doha International Airport, 291 were Rizon Jet flights, and 447 from 3rd party aircraft using the Rizon Jet terminal. 

Rizon Jet's challenges

Seven days after the launch in March 2012. Rizon Jet received formal notice form the authorities with allegations of providing ground handling services, contrary to its approval conditions, and requested Rizon Jet halt offering such services. 

In a statement: Rizon Jet refuted the claim of unauthorized handling services, citing copies of Qatar Airways ground handling invoices for ground handling services provided by Qatar Aviation Services a Qatar airways fully owned subsidiary.  

An investigative committee would be formed, with three Qatar Airways employees, Rizon Jet alleged  "this was a clearly biased committee right from the start". 

Based on the committee’s findings Qatar Civil Aviation Authority issued a warning to Rizon Jet for:

"Introducing equipment without approval from the authority and that such equipment had not been used solely for aircraft maintenance
Receiving private jets belonging to corporate and other individuals and providing ground handling services to those aircraft through Qatar Aviation Services."

According to Rizon Jet, AC-U-KWIK, a flight planning resource guide for worldwide Airport and FBO / Handler data, proves the existence of other companies (besides Qatar Aviation Services) that offer ground handling services for corporate aircraft at Doha International Airport. Four of the listed companies are based outside Qatar they even provide telephone numbers outside of Qatar.

In November 2012 the Civil Aviation Authority advised Rizon Jet it will reject all applications to use the Rizon Jet VIP terminal from private and corporate operators coming into Doha.

In a formal statement Rizon Jet:

"This explicitly violates the initial approval of the Prime Minister, granted in February 2009. The only exception to this was when QCAA granted an approval for Rizon Jet to receive the Paris St Germain football team in December 2012."

And continued:

"To extend its range of services, Rizon Jet applied for a travel agency license.  All regulatory requirements were adhered to, the bank guarantee deposited and the office location as ‘Rizon Jet at Doha International Airport’ specified.

On May 22nd, 2012 QCAA issued Rizon jet the requested travel Agency License, the license clearly stated that the location of the travel agency was at Rizon Jet premises at Doha international Airport. About 6 months later, with neither a warning nor a legal justification the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority issued a letter informing Rizon Jet that the license had been withdrawn as the Rizon Jet office lies within the airport perimeter and such activity is exclusively for Qatar Aviation Services. Rizon Jet naturally contested this but hasn’t received any reply yet. 

On October 9th, 2012 Rizon Jet requested the addition of flight support services to its commercial license in Qatar. Third party fight support services are not restricted to any particular airport, they can be provided between any two airports globally. On October 21st, we received a notification from the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority refusing our request, reminding us that they will not tolerate any activity beyond the company’s operating permit. 

Hereupon, on October 23rd, Rizon Jet applied to offer flight support services at through its offices at Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) in UAE and got the preliminary approval from the Sharjah Free Zone Authority the same day. The provisional approval from Sharjah was issued on October 24th and Rizon Jet received its license in Sharjah on November 5th, 2012. 

Rizon Jet had received an invitation from the Al-Khor Fly-in organizing committee to participate in the Al Khor Fly-In Event in January 2013. As part of its community service, Rizon Jet intended to participate with two aircraft on display. One day before the event, Rizon Jet’s CEO received a call from the Director of Air Navigation at QCAA, advising that Rizon Jet aircraft have been banned from attending the event."

Captain Hassan Al-Mousawi Rizon Jet’s chief executive officer, stated: “We have tried to resolve the issues on an amicable basis but now we have to speak up. If it is a level playing field then competition is ok, but this is uneven.

"It is unfair competition. We are all for clean, healthy competition – that is what brings efficiency and raises standards, but in Qatar we have a world-class airline that also owns a private jet business, enjoys a monopoly on ground handling, as well as being the airport operator.

"We were aware of the exclusive deal the airport has with Qatar Aviation Services for ground handling and we are happy with them providing the under-the-wing services, catering, towing etc., but at the same time, we were told that we could accept our own aircraft and those of third parties.

"We are not going to accept the block, which has resulted in all third-party customers being forced to use the main ramp at Doha International Airport. 50% of our FBO revenue was coming from 3rd party customers and it was on the increase, so it’s a big chunk for us. It might not be a big deal for a big multi-billion dollar company like our competitor’s parent company, but for us it makes a huge difference. We are a Qatari-owned company and we would like to be given the opportunity to operate and build a viable business in Qatar.”