UK business aviation firm Gama Aviation is to build a new hangar at Sharjah International airport and increase its engineering capacity.

Gama will use the mixed-use hangar for maintenance and aircraft storage, and broaden its range of engineering coverage, adding additional types of visiting and based aircraft.

Gama already operates eight business jets from four hangars in Sharjah, about 10 per cent of their global business. However, after its planned merger with UK firm Hangar 8, announced on 8 December, the hangars will also serve Hangar 8 aircraft as they look to offer services in the Middle East.

“We prefer to operate in Sharjah because we’re supported so well by the airport authority,” says Richard Lineveldt, general manager for Gama in the Middle East. “And, from an operational point of view, there are no slot restrictions on landings and we have more capacity for parking.”

Gama Aviation opened a fixed-base operation terminal in Sharjah in July 2014, after taking responsibility for parking, engineering and maintenance for business aviation in 2012.

Industry observers expect demand for business aviation to boom, despite only 1-2 per cent growth over the last few years.

“We have a very positive outlook in the Middle East, and business here has bounced back quicker than expected from the 2008 crisis,” says Lineveldt. “Corporates are looking at business aviation as a viable option to fly around the region.”