Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport – Gateway to the Costa Smeralda

The brainchild of His Highness the Aga Khan, who practically stumbled across this unspoilt corner of Sardinia in the 1960s, the Costa Smeralda is today one of the world’s most coveted luxury holiday destinations and an understated Mecca for the rich and famous

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Eccelsa Aviation, a company wholly controlled by the airport management company Geasar SpA, is charged with making arriving in the Costa Smeralda a seamless experience for a range of demanding clientele. From Hollywood A-listers to HNWIs and heads of state, a who’s who of international travellers regularly transit through Olbia’s fixed-base operator (FBO). During the busy summer season, visitors arrive from all over the globe to stay in the region’s leading hotels and exclusive private villas. Others will spend their time aboard sleek super yachts, and with Olbia Costa Smeralda airport just a stone’s throw away from the Marina di Olbia, guests can find themselves relaxing on the stunning turquoise waters off the coast, minutes after landing.

The purpose-built FBO at Olbia Airport is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. Seen from on high it looks like an immense aircraft door, while from ground level its clean, sleek lines seem to swoop skyward like giant wings. As passengers relax in the cocoon-like comfort of the terminal, its elegant lines and the beautifully designed natural and artificial lighting create a sense of absolute privacy and tranquillity.

The terminal covers more than 4,000 square metres, and features a selection of luxury commercial activities to cater to passengers during their transit through the airport. A coffee shop and bar allow anyone transiting in the FBO to enjoy a local speciality, a glass of good wine, spumante or prosecco from the region while waiting to board their aircraft.

A glittering symphony of glass, steel and beautiful local yellow-hued granite, the terminal boasts one special design feature that makes it absolutely unique in Europe: a distinctive outer wing that allows guests to enter and exit the terminal directly from their aircraft Where this is not possible, passengers are accompanied for the short distances between the terminal and their aircraft on board a fleet of top-end Audi models, while a competent and well trained team handles their precious luggage with care and professionalism. The wing is big enough to provide shelter even to large executive B737s, A319s and A320s, the nearest thing there is to an airborne villa, offering hundreds of square metres of cabin space and including up to three bedrooms, four or five bathrooms, a lounge, office and enough fuel capacity to cross the Atlantic.

A professional team of around 50 is completely geared towards a culture of service, with a passion for problem-solving in order to meet even the most unusual requests that arrive on the Eccelsa Aviation operational desks on a daily basis. “In the industry of service, service is everything” is the motto here, and the culture of excellent service means making every effort to accommodate all requests. “We are all very much aware that tourism is a genuine asset to be taken care of and nourished, not only for Eccelsa and the Airport, but also for the entire region, as it provides a significant contribution to our economy, as well as our social and cultural heritage”, says Francesco Cossu, Eccelsa GM.

The terminal’s concierge service is on hand to organise everything visitors might desire to make their stay a perfect one: horse trekking, private aircraft or helicopters, Ferrari, Bentley or Aston Martin rentals, yacht charters – both bare-boat or with a skipper and crew. Eccelsa, throughout its sister company Cortesa, also provides first class in-flight catering, offering a menu of 100 top-quality dishes, ranging from simple sandwiches to fresh lobster, local Sardinian and Italian specialities, and fine wines.

July and August are the busiest months in the skies over the Costa Smeralda, with about 4,000 arrivals and departures monthly. Privacy and security, together with comfort, are among the qualities that private aircraft passengers most value from Eccelsa Aviation.

Eccelsa has an agreement with an on-site maintenance team to deliver first-rate ground assistance, integrated services for flight crews, and the option to house the aircraft in a hangar for the entire length of stay in Olbia. Air taxi companies and their crews are also well catered for, as these now account for up to 60 percent of traffic coming into Olbia Costa Smeralda.

Eccelsa Aviation may not be the reason why habitués of the Costa Smeralda choose to visit this renowned destination, but it certainly contributes to making sure that people have a truly special holiday in a truly special place, and encourages them to return to Sardinia again and again. On an island where hospitality, quality and first-class service are second nature, an incredible number of different cultures come together in total harmony for the entire summer season. And Eccelsa Aviation is there to cater perfectly to all their private aviation needs.