Author: Francesco Cossu, General Manager, Eccelsa Aviation
Looking back through black and white photographs, it’s easy to see that the architects of the Costa Smeralda area were blessed with a superior vision, as well as a unique ability to make it come true. For about 50 years, the Costa Smeralda – located on the north-east coast of Sardinia – has been recognised as one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. Now, with Eccelsa Aviation’s cutting-edge fixed-base operator (FBO) air terminal at its very heart, travellers seeking privacy and luxury need look no further.
Located just six kilometres from the terminal is the brand new Marina di Olbia, which provides dock services for yachts of all dimensions. Unique to the Mediterranean, a private transfer service between the terminal and the marina allows vacationers to start their holiday within minutes of touching down – an amenity very much appreciated by private aircraft clients, who often lead busy lives and need to make the most out of their precious downtime.
Above and beyond
Opened in the summer of 2009, the Eccelsa terminal – the only FBO in Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport – is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. From above, it resembles a massive 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 ambient lighting create a sense of privacy and peace. This is an astonishing feat for an airport that caters to more than 35,000 passengers, all of whom are bound for the world’s most beautiful stretch of sea.
We are all very aware that tourists are the real assets – not only for Eccelsa and the airport, but also for Costa Smeralda as a whole
Eccelsa Aviation, which is controlled by airport management company Geasar, has fully embraced its role in making Costa Smeralda an exclusive tourist destination, combining utter professionalism with a special charm that comes from dealing with a constant flow of discerning, often famous clients. This culture of service is highlighted by the capacity of our 45-person-strong team to tackle all requests – no matter how demanding – with sheer passion on a daily basis. All staff are devoted to ensuring both passengers and crew have the best possible experience when using Eccelsa facilities.
Our passenger numbers and plane movements have doubled since the company launched in 2003, bringing with them a variety of new requests to satisfy. After all, service is everything to a hospitality company. Within the boundaries of legality, goodwill and common sense, we will always try to please our customers and make sure they leave our premises happy and satisfied, whether they are arriving to the island or returning home. We are all very much aware that tourists are the real assets – not only for Eccelsa and the airport, but also for the entire territory.
In full flight
Today, the number of tourists visiting the Costa Smeralda is skyrocketing. This highly selective clientele travel from many different corners of the planet to relax on superyachts, in coastal villas or in the area’s most exclusive hotels. This influx of discreet guests was the inspiration behind Eccelsa’s FBO terminal, which now covers 4,000sq m and is home to a plethora of luxury brands.
Visitors can browse Swiss jewellery at de Grisogono, luxury furniture at Provasi and high-end clothing at a range of outlets, as well as sample a range of select food products and fine wines from Sardinia, one of Europe’s best culinary destinations. Travellers also have access to a high-quality restaurant, a conference centre, the San Marino Aircraft Registry office and an architectural studio that offers its services to high-net-worth individuals transiting in the FBO terminal during the summertime.
The terminal itself is a glittering combination of glass, steel and beautiful local granite. What makes it truly unique to Europe, however, is its outer wing, which allows guests to enter and exit the terminal directly from their aircraft. On occasion, passengers are even transported via a sleek Audi while a well-trained team handles their luggage with care and professionalism.
The giant wing is capable of sheltering large, executive carriers, including the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A319. With hundreds of square metres of cabin space – which houses three bedrooms, four or five bathrooms, a lounge, office and enough fuel to fly across the Atlantic Ocean – these jets are the closest things to an airborne villa. Tellingly, these carriers now make up around five percent of aircraft movements at the Eccelsa terminal.
Privacy, security and comfort are among the qualities private aircraft passengers most appreciate about Eccelsa Aviation, and our work with the Marina di Olbia is very much a part of that service. Thanks to a discreet limousine fleet that carries incoming passengers directly to their yachts, we can ensure guests enjoy privacy until the very last minute of their holiday. What’s more, we can arrange for helicopters to take travellers to any superyacht with a helipad or to any of the local hotels and villas.
A taste for luxury
The undisputed skill and efficiency of Eccelsa’s highly motivated team ensure every process runs smoothly. The terminal’s concierge service will happily organise anything visitors require to make their stay perfect, whether it’s horse-trekking expeditions or private helicopter trips. The concierge can also organise Ferrari, Bentley or Aston Martin rentals, as well as yacht charters – with or without a crew. Through its sister company, Cortesa, Eccelsa provides first-class in-flight catering.
A team of chefs prepare a menu from a selection of 100 dishes, ranging from simple sandwiches to mouth-watering lobster dishes and local specialities. Italy’s finest wines complement all food options. While waiting for a flight, guests can also make use of the terminal’s coffee shop and bar, which serves food all day and allows those flying with Eccelsa to enjoy a local dish and a glass of good wine.
What’s more, Eccelsa has an agreement in place with Meridiana Maintenance to offer first-class ground assistance, integrated services for flight crews and the chance to shelter aircraft for the entire length of one’s stay in Olbia. Air taxi companies and their crews are also well catered for, as they account for as much as 60 percent of the traffic coming into Olbia Costa Smeralda.
Eccelsa Aviation’s commitment to providing a truly special holiday experience is one of the key reasons people return to Sardinia time and again. It really is an island where hospitality, quality and first-class service are intrinsic to the inhabitants. Consequently, discerning travellers regularly come together in Costa Smeralda for the summer months, turning to Eccelsa Aviation for all their private travel needs.