For about 50 years, the Costa Smeralda has been one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. Today, Eccelsa Aviation’s cutting-edge air terminal lies at the very heart of the region.
Located just two kilometres away from the brand new Marina di Olbia, which provides berthing and exclusive services for yachts of all dimensions, the destination is truly unique in the Mediterranean. There is a private transfer service on offer between the Eccelsa Aviation terminal and the marina, allowing five-star vacationers to start their holiday within a few minutes of touching down, without the need for any long drives or helicopter hops. This is a unique amenity that is very much appreciated by the terminal’s private aircraft clients, who often live very busy lives and need to make the most of their precious downtime.
Opened in summer 2009, the air terminal is an architectural masterpiece: when viewed from above it looks like a massive aircraft door, while from ground level its clean, sleek edges seem to swoop skyward like giant wings. As passengers relax in the cocoon-like comfort of the terminal, its elegant lines and beautifully incorporated natural and artificial lighting create a sense of absolute tranquility.
There is a private transfer service on offer between the Eccelsa Aviation terminal and the marina, allowing five-star vacationers to start their holiday within a few minutes of touching down
It is truly an astonishing feat for such an airport to cater to over 30,000 passengers a year, all bound for the world’s most beautiful stretch of sea. Eccelsa Aviation, a company controlled 100 percent by the airport management company Geasar, has embraced its role within the airport, combining utter professionalism with a special charm that comes from dealing with a constant flow of discerning, often celebrity clients.
As a result, Eccelsa has become proficient at dealing with all manner of unusal requests. “Any chance you could help us transport 300kg of fabulous Italian ice cream before it melts? We would like to take it back home and enjoy it in our own country for a while” – according to General Manager of Eccelsa Aviation, Francesco Cossu, this doesn’t even come close to the oddest request the company’s highly efficient team has accommodated over the years. “Our passenger numbers and plane movements have doubled since the company launched in 2003”, Cossu told Business Destinations. “And with that, the sheer variety of requests we find ourselves having to satisfy has grown in equal measure.”
The number of high-profile visitors descending on the Costa Smeralda continues to skyrocket. These are people who arrive from many different corners of the planet with the intention of chilling out on superyachts, in luxurious villas along the shore, or in the most exclusive hotels in the region. The result of this influx has been the construction of the new Eccelsa Aviation terminal, which now comprises no less than 4,000sq m of retail heaven, including a plethora of luxury brands selling their unique, world-renowned products: De Grisogono, Maori Yacht, Gold Elements Cosmetics, high-end men’s and women’s shoes, and select food products and fine wines.
There’s also a high-quality restaurant and a conference hall within the terminal, which itself is a glittering symphony of glass, steel and beautiful local yellowish granite. It has one feature, however, that makes it absolutely unique in Europe: a formidable outer wing that allows guests to enter and exit the terminal directly from their aircraft – or, in the worst case scenario, passengers will be escorted to the terminal by a sleek Audi, while the airport’s professional and well-trained team take care of their precious luggage. This giant wing provides shelter even to the executive B737, A319 and A320 aircraft – the nearest thing there is to an airborne villa, offering hundreds of square metres of cabin space that can include three bedrooms, four or five bathrooms, a lounge, office and enough aircraft fuel to fly across the Atlantic. Tellingly, these giant executive jets now make up around four percent of aircraft movements at the terminal.
An array of services
Naturally enough, July and August are the busiest months in the skies over Costa Smeralda, with between 3,000 and 4,000 arrivals and departures clocking up monthly. Privacy and security are two of the qualities that private aircraft passengers most appreciate about Eccelsa Aviation, winner of Best Fixed Based Operator, Europe in the 2016 Business Destinations Travel Awards. The company’s close connection to the Marina di Olbia is very much a part of this unobtrusive service, with particular thanks to a discreet limousine fleet that whisks incoming passengers directly to their yachts once they touch down, ensuring they can enjoy their holiday to the very last minute. Furthermore, it is just a short hop by helicopter to any superyacht with a helipad or to any of the local hotels and villas.
Thanks to the undisputed skills and efficiency of Eccelsa’s highly motivated, 40-strong team, the whole process works as smoothly as clockwork. The terminal’s own concierge service will organise everything visitors require in order to make their stay a perfect one: horse trekking; private aircraft or helicopters; Ferrari, Bentley or Aston Martin rentals; and yacht charters, both bare-boat or with a skipper and crew included, ready to do the work.
Eccelsa, through its sister company Cortesa, also provides first class inflight catering, offering a menu of 100 dishes ranging from simple sandwiches to mouth-watering lobster, local Sardinian and Italian specialities, and fine wines. The terminal also offers a combined coffee shop and bar, which serves food all day long and allows passengers transitioning through the terminal to enjoy a local dish while waiting for their aircraft. Furthermore, the Meridiana Maintenance Team delivers first-class ground assistance and integrated services for flight crews. Air taxi companies and their crews are also well catered for, as they now account for up to 50 percent of incoming traffic at the terminal.
Eccelsa Aviation is one of the reasons people who demand a truly special holiday return to Sardinia again and again. This stunning island, where friendliness, quality and first-class service are intrinsic to the experience, boasts an incredible number of different cultures that perfectly meet and combine in total harmony for the entire summer season. It is this unique blend of people from all corners of the world who regularly use Eccelsa Aviation and its outstanding terminal for all of their trips.
Kim Fisher is a luxury brand and lifestyle expert for Eccelsa Aviation