The commercial aviation restart in Iraq has begun as Mercury Air Group subsidiary, Maytag Aircraft Corporation, has joined forces with Royal Wings Aviation Services in Kuwait at Al Mubarak International Airport.
The new venture, Maytag Aviation International, wraps the companies' hands around the Kuwaiti "choking point" for all goods flown into Iraq and Afghanistan and furthers Iraq's commercial rebuilding. Al Mubarak airport is divided between the Kuwaiti military and the commercial airlines at the airport. Royal Wings, a leading flight support services provider in the area with offices in Kuwait, Dubai and Qatar as well as affiliates in parts of the Middle East and East Africa, specializes in servicing corporate, charter and commercial flight operations. They support VIP flights by arranging all the required ground handling, crew support, fuel, transportation, hotel arrangements civil permits, parking and any needed special security.
Royal acts as a general sales agent for various airlines by arranging passenger and cargo air charters. They connect their contacts in the Middle East, East Africa and China with Mercury Air Group to provide a range of aviation solutions.
"We are able to open a number of new markets for the many products and services of the Mercury Air Group family," says Robert A. Gualtieri, Maytag Aviation International's business development manager in Kuwait. "We (decided to) use the Maytag name since our primary focus will be to capture U.S. government business and Maytag Aircraft Corporation has over 50 years experience in U.S. government support."
Royal Wings' partner, Maytag Aircraft, has contracted with the U.S. government to provide refueling, air terminal, ground handling and base operating support at multiple international and domestic locations.
The Kuwaiti Air Force leases a great deal of its area to the U.S. Air force and Kuwait International has become the base of the funnel where all goods coming in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq must go through. Unless it is an emergency flight directly into Baghdad or Kabul, all goods and personnel come into Kuwait.
Since 1999, Maytag Aircraft, the new company's sister, has held the contract for running the military side of the airport for the U.S. Air Force. The new venture noticed that once the commercial aircraft, working under contract for the military had off-loaded, they were pushed onto the commercial side of the airfield and had to "fend for themselves." Delta, Polar, World Airways, Volga-Dnepr Airlines and others that are currently bringing supplies into Kuwait should stand to benefit from this venture.
"Kuwait International Airport had this inordinate amount of cargo aircraft sitting on its tarmac. Actually, it doesn't even have room for them," says Joseph A. Czyzyk, chairman and CEO of Mercury Air Group. "These are flights that have come in, done there duty for the U.S. Air Force and then they get pushed out onto the commercial side of the airport to make room for the other flights coming in for the military."
After the crews punch out for Uncle Sam, they either have to find a load or wait for a message from their dispatch center. The aircraft needs fuel, ground support, catering and, if they're able to pick up some commercial air cargo, they need to be loaded. These services were offered by several different venders at the airport, but this new venture will offer a "one-stop shop."
"In the past, all of these services were available, but you had to go to seven or eight different sources to get them whereas we're providing all of these under one roof and under one agreement," Czyzyk says.
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