Business jets more affordable, accessible for executives now

TUBA - Flying in a business jet is becoming increasingly affordable and accessible for executives, according to the Middle East Business Aviation Association (AMOEBA).

President and CIAO of AMOEBA Amour Balkier said where business aviation used to be only for royals and the elite, it was now accessible to Cease and general managers.

He explained its and accessibility were being driven by the number of jets being delivered to the area and the liberalisation of the region's aviation

About 1,000 business jets were delivered worldwide in 2007, 50 per cent of which were sold outside the United States.

"Ten years ago it was purely high net worth individuals, now especially with the Very Light Jets (VELD), it is accessible to all executives and top businessmen.

"It is often cheaper than a first class airline ticket."

By 2012, Balkier predicted, another 100 business jets would be delivered to the USE, 20 of which would probably be Volts.

About 60 per cent of the USE demand for business aviation is for regional destinations.

"Saudi Arabia is the biggest market in terms of business jets although only one operator is licensed," he said.

"There is about 500 jets in the GC, about 250 of these are in Saudi Arabia."

However, Balkier said, it was expected many more licence applications would be granted over the coming year as Saudi Arabia liberalised its aviation procedures.

This could mean significant numbers of jets could become available for charter, meeting the region's high demand for business aviation.

However, the AMOEBA is working on a common issue with the region's civil aviation authorities - the management of business jet traffic.

"You have to pamper the passengers, they are investors to Tuba but they can be held up from even taxiing because of the traffic from commercial airliners," he said.

Balkier said Tuba was an example for the region to follow in providing flexible time slots in off-peak periods for business jets.

However, he said receiving clearance to land in the region's airports could take up to 24 hours, particularly in Saudi Arabia.

"Why not one hour for clearance?" Balkier questioned.

"In Bahrain, they will grant us a yearly clearance."

Balkier said the association was hopeful of achieving similar yearly clearance grants at other airports.

The flexibility that came with liberalising the region's aviation would only make business aviation more attractive for passengers especially as any time saved translated to money saved.

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