Firstco open second Middle East office

Following their recent multi-million pound contract win with Ultra Electronics Airport Systems in Oman, Firstco has announced it will be opening an office in Muscat. This is the second office Firstco has introduced to the Middle East within the last five years, highlighting the ever increasing demand for expert technical support out in the Gulf.

Martin Parris, Head of Airports at Firstco will oversee the work in the new Muscat office: “We’re delighted to be expanding the business across the Middle East. It’s very rewarding to see that our expertise is being recognised on a global scale and in a region where development and investment are pushing the boundaries.”

The new branch will be located in the Knowledge Oasis Muscat Technology Park and will be home to a team of Firstco engineers and contractors as the Muscat International and Salalah Airport projects progress. In addition, as part of Firstco’s commitment to the Sultanate’s Omanisation programme, Firstco have already recruited and are training local Omani graduates into the Middle East business.

 Firstco arrived in the Middle East in 2006, opening a Dubai office to support the UAE side of the business, in particular the on-going Khalifa Port project in Abu Dhabi. Firstco has recently announced its involvement in the development of Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia - this is just the latest step in Firstco’s growing business in the region.


Firstco sponsors ‘Ultra – Heathrow and beyond’ evening at the IET

Firstco was delighted to sponsor a presentation entitled ‘Ultra – Heathrow and Beyond’ at the IET in Central London. The evening presented industry peers and students with the opportunity to meet the people behind the ground-breaking Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) system, now running at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.

Dr Chris Featherstone, Senior Test Engineer for Ultra Global PRT offered a technical insight into how the pod system (the PRT system) operates and explored the future possibilities for this exciting technology before taking questions from the floor. 

‘The pod clearly demonstrates benefits and importantly addresses issues that are not unique to Heathrow. There are significant opportunities in a wide range of applications globally including airports and campuses and we look forward to where we can take this in the future.’

Levels of satisfaction as measured by Heathrow’s own research had passenger feedback on buses at 3.6 out of 5. However with PRT the same passenger group scored satisfaction as high as 4.7, making PRT the single highest scoring service available across the airport.

Mark Calnan, Chairman of Firstco Ltd who opened the talk, commented: ‘We’re delighted to welcome so many guests to this presentation and be able to share the insights into this extraordinary project. The level of interest shown tonight and questions raised is testament to the excitement and interest PRT generates - not only from the members of the public using the pod but also people within the industry.  Firstco is proud of its association with many ground-breaking integrated transport projects and the Heathrow pod is the latest in a long line for us – this one offering a potential solution to the issue of the ‘last mile’ of many journeys.’

Firstco was engaged by Ultra Global PRT as the commissioning phase migrated into full operational service and continues to support the Heathrow pod controls and communications systems.

The Heathrow pod system operates with up to 21 battery-powered fully automated pods running on a dedicated guide-way under the control of an automated central scheduling and monitoring system. The system runs between Terminal 5 and its long stay business car park

Thanks to its intelligent control, the system provides an on-demand personal service with over 80% of passengers able to walk straight on and complete their journey in 5 minutes. With lightweight infrastructure, low power consumption, zero emissions at point of use and near silent running, the system is sympathetic to the environment and has taken 50,000 bus journeys per year off the road.

To find out more about Firstco’s involvement in the project visit:

Also visit the ULTra Global website for media and other information: