The business of… Private air travel
Middle East execs are disregarding those nagging fears about corporate excess, and are choosing to travel abroad in style.
May 11, 2010 3:39 by kippreport
Dubai-based travel agent Dnata estimates the market share for private jet operators at around $500 million annually, and recent research supports their optimism.
Last year, business jet aircraft movements in the Middle East topped 100,000, up from 93,000 in 2008. Continued growth is expected to exceed 6 percent annualized yearly, with as many as 160,000 business jet aircraft movements by 2018, according to research by Frost & Sullivan.
The expected number of business jets to be delivered to Middle East customers will be approximately 458 by 2018. The number of jets expected to be delivered in Saudi Arabia alone will be about 154, research suggests.
The outlook for the sector in the region is “very positive”, insists Shane O’Hare, President and CEO at the Abu Dhabi-based private charter airline Royal Jet. O’Hare says growth in demand for luxury charter services is on track to continue, spurred on by rising demand from upscale customers in the GCC. Saudi Arabia accounts for 40 percent of Royal Jet’s market, followed by the UAE with 30 percent.
The company reportedly maintained its regional market share of 20 percent last year, despite turbulence in world business markets.
Western Aviation, a Dubai-based Aircraft Charter Service Company, posted strong first quarter numbers this year, with air charter sales up 21 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period 2009.