The shimmering 55km coastline of the Costa Smeralda, or the Emerald Coast, was not developed until the early 1960s, when a consortium headed by millionaire Karim Aga Khan bought up the pristine land in North-East Sardinia.
Looking back, it is clear that the architects who designed the resort possessed not only a superior vision, but also the ability to realise their ambitious plan. For more than 50 years, the turquoise waters and awe-inspiring sights of the Costa Smeralda have positioned it as one of the world’s premier luxury tourism destinations, playing host to the mega-yachts of billionaires and royals alike.
Eccelsa Aviation offers a discreet limousine fleet that whisks incoming passengers directly from the aircraft to their yachts, ensuring they enjoy their holiday in total privacy
Just minutes from the Costa Smeralda’s celebrated white-sand beaches – which are some of the most spectacular in the Mediterranean – and its resorts, marinas and golf courses, sits Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, where the handling company Eccelsa Aviation operates a dedicated private business aviation terminal.
The cutting-edge fixed base operator (FBO) is located just four kilometres from the new Marina di Olbia, which is home to docks and services for yachts of all sizes. With a private transfer service of fewer than five minutes between the Eccelsa Aviation terminal and the marina, five-star vacationers are able to begin their holiday within minutes of touchdown.
Opened in summer 2009, the Eccelsa Aviation facility – the only FBO in the region – is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. From above, it resembles an aircraft door, while from ground level its clean lines seem to swoop skyward like a pair of wings. The executive terminal is a glittering work of glass, steel and locally sourced granite.
It also boasts a feature that is unique in Europe: an impressive outer wing that allows guests to access the terminal directly from their aircraft. Alternatively, clients can be transported to the terminal in one of Eccelsa’s top-of-the-range Audi vehicles. A competent, well-trained team, meanwhile, handles guests’ luggage with care.
The hangar accommodates aircraft as large as the ultra-luxurious 737 Boeing Business Jet and Airbus’ corporate jets. Tellingly, these large jets comprise around five percent of the FBO’s aircraft movements. The FBO terminal was built to service the rising number of high-class visitors making their way to the Costa Smeralda.
To accommodate the avid shopper, it includes 4,000sq m of retail space, in which an abundance of luxury brands selling unique products can be found. These include Swiss jewellery by de Grisogono, Provasi’s luxury furniture, high-end men’s and women’s shoes, and stylish sunglasses.
The best food and fine wines from Sardinia, the Italian mainland and the finest producers in Europe can also be found in the on-site shops, including local prosecco and spumante. Additionally, the terminal includes a quality restaurant that serves food all day, plus a conference hall, San Marino Aircraft Registry office and an architectural studio offering services to those wishing to renovate their Sardinian property.
Eccelsa Aviation is controlled by airport management company Geasar, which is part of the Meridiana group. Staff members combine faultless professionalism with a special charm that comes from dealing with a constant flow of discerning clients. Meridiana’s customer-orientated service and practical problem-solving capabilities are encapsulated in the can-do attitude of its dedicated staff.
The length of Costa Smeralda’s coastline
The year Eccelsa Aviation’s FBO facility opened
The year Karim Aga Khan bought the land on which Costa Smeralda sits
Eccelsa’s staff tackle all customer requests – from the ordinary to the most unusual – with enthusiasm on a daily basis. Passenger numbers and plane movements have doubled since the company launched in 2003, and as a result, the variety of requests the FBO must satisfy has diversified.
In the private aviation industry, service is everything. Within the boundaries of legality, goodwill and common sense, Eccelsa Aviation always tries to please its customers and ensure they leave the airport happy and satisfied, whether they’re arriving on the island or returning home. The airport’s visitors are a vital asset, not only for Eccelsa, but for the entire region.
The number of first-class visitors to the Costa Smeralda is continuing to grow. People travel from all over the world to relax on superyachts in the dazzling blue-green waters, in opulent villas along the coast, or at the exclusive hotels in the Costa Smeralda and the surrounding area.
July and August are predictably the busiest months for the region, with between 3,000 and 4,000 arrivals and departures each month. Top sporting events like regattas and golf tournaments often take place in the Costa Smeralda in the summer. During these hectic summer months, privacy, security and comfort are among the qualities passengers of this calibre most appreciate about Eccelsa Aviation’s service.
Close collaboration with the Marina di Olbia is very much a part of that service. Eccelsa Aviation offers a discreet limousine fleet that whisks incoming passengers directly from the aircraft to their yachts, ensuring they enjoy their holiday in total privacy.
With the upcoming addition of a helipad directly at the terminal, a brief flight can also be arranged to any superyacht equipped with a landing area, or to the local hotels and villas. Regardless of the mode of transport, onward travel is quick and easy to arrange thanks to Eccelsa Aviation’s highly efficient team.
What’s more, the terminal’s concierge service is happy to organise everything visitors require for a perfect stay. This includes outdoor excursions and adventure sports as well as private flights over the jagged granite mountains and golden hills of Sardinia.
Private tours of the island can also be booked through Eccelsa’s concierge service. Additionally, the concierge can arrange Ferrari, Bentley or Aston Martin rentals, as well as yacht charters, either bareboat or with a skipper and crew.
Eccelsa’s agreement with the team at Meridiana Maintenance ensures first-class ground assistance, with integrated services for flight crews, including the option to hangar aircraft for the duration of their stay in Olbia. Air taxi companies and their crews are also well catered for, since they now account for up to 60 percent of the traffic arriving at Olbia Costa Smeralda.
Through its sister company Cortesa, Eccelsa provides first-class inflight catering. The dynamic team of chefs have produced a special menu of 100 tasty dishes, ranging from simple sandwiches to mouth-watering lobster. Local Sardinian and Italian specialities are featured, as well as fine wines.
Eccelsa Aviation is one of the reasons high-class travellers who demand a truly outstanding holiday experience in a dazzlingly beautiful setting return to Sardinia time and time again. On this island, luxury service is guaranteed. Visitors from an array of cultures meet and live together in harmony in the Costa Smeralda for the entire summer season, using Eccelsa Aviation for all their private aviation needs.