Looking back at black and white photos from the early 1960s, it’s clear the architect responsible for Costa Smeralda was equipped not only with a vision for its creation but also the unique ability to realise it. For around 50 years, Costa Smeralda has been renowned as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations.
Today, Eccelsa Aviation’s leading-edge FBO lays at its heart, just 4km from the brand-new Marina di Olbia, with its berthing and services for yachts of all sizes. Uniquely in the Mediterranean, a private transfer service between the Eccelsa Aviation terminal and the Marina enables five-star vacationers to begin their holiday within a few minutes of touching down, with no need for a long drive or helicopter transfer.
Opened in summer 2009 and still Olbia’s only FBO, the Eccelsa Aviation facility 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 skywards like giant wings. As passengers relax in the terminal’s cocoon-like comfort, its elegant lines and beautifully designed balance of natural and artificial light create a sense of absolute privacy and peace.
Eccelsa Aviation, 100% controlled by airport management company Geasar SpA, part of the Meridiana Group, combines utter professionalism with a touch of special charm that comes from dealing with a constant flow of discerning, often celebrity, clients. Its customer-orientated ‘culture of service’ approach and problem-solving attitude are encapsulated in the can-do attitude of its professional staff.
Led by General Manager Francesco Cossu, they tackle all customer requests, including the most unusual, with sheer passion on a daily basis. “Passenger numbers and plane movements have doubled since we launched in 2003 and with that the variety of requests we find ourselves satisfying has diversified,” Cossu explains with a smile.
“After all, in this industry service is everything and within the boundaries of legality, goodwill and common sense, we always try to please our customers and ensure they leave our premises happy and satisfied, whether they’re arriving to the island or returning home. We’re all very much aware that our tourists are a vital asset, not only for Eccelsa and the airport, but for the entire region.”
The numbers of a highly select visitors to the Costa Smeralda are sky-rocketing. These are folk who travel from all over the world to chill out on super yachts, in the dreamily exclusive villas along the coast or in the most exclusive hotels in Costa Smeralda and surrounding settlements.
The FBO terminal was built to service this discreet influx. It includes 4,000m2 of retail heaven, including a plethora of luxury brands selling unique products, including De Grisogono jewellery, Provasi luxury furniture, high-end men’s and women’s shoes, sunglasses, and the best food and fine wines from Sardinia, the Italian mainland and the finest producers in Europe. There is also a quality restaurant and conference hall, plus a San Marino Aircraft Registry office and an architectural studio offering services to customers transiting the FBO during the summer.
The terminal is a glittering symphony of glass, steel and the beautiful local granite, and boasts a feature unique in Europe – an impressive outer wing that allows guests to access the terminal directly from their aircraft. The alternative is a short ride to or from the terminal in one Eccelsa’s modern Audi fleet, while a competent, well trained team handles their luggage with the ultimate care. Meanwhile, the ‘wing’ accommodates aircraft as large as the 737BBJ and ACJ; tellingly, these large jets comprise around 5% of the FBO’s aircraft movements.
July and August are predictably the busiest months, with between 3,000 and 4,000 arrivals and departures monthly. Privacy, security and comfort are among the qualities these aircrafts’ passengers most appreciate about Eccelsa Aviation’s service.
And its work with the Marina di Olbia is very much a part of that service, offering a discreet limousine fleet that whisks incoming passengers directly from touch down to their yachts and ensures they enjoy their holiday to its very last minute. A short helicopter hop can also be arranged to any super yacht with a helipad, or any of the local hotels and villas. Regardless of the mode of transport, onward travel is smoothly arranged through the finely-honed skills and efficiency of Eccelsa’s highly motivated team.
The terminal’s concierge service is able to organise everything visitors require for a perfect stay, from horse trekking, to private flying, Ferrari, Bentley or Aston Martin rentals to yacht charters, either bare-boat or with a skipper and crew. Through its sister company Cortesa, Eccelsa also provides first class inflight catering from a menu of 100 dishes, ranging from simple sandwiches to mouth-watering lobster, local Sardinian and Italian specialities, and fine wines. On the ground, the terminal boasts a coffee shop and bar, serving food all day and offering local dishes, fine wines and local Prosecco and Spumante.
Eccelsa’s agreement with the Meridiana Maintenance Team ensures first-class ground assistance, with integrated services for flight crews and the option to hangar aircraft for the length of their stay at Olbia. Air taxi companies and their crews are also well catered for, since they now account for up to 60% of the traffic arriving at Olbia Costa Smeralda.
Eccelsa Aviation is among the reasons people demanding a truly special holiday in a truly special place return to Sardinia – an island where friendliness, quality and first-class service are in the nature of its inhabitants – again and again. Visitors from an array of cultures meet and live together in perfect harmony in Costa Smeralda for the entire summer season, using Eccelsa Aviation for all their private aviation needs.