Shaikh Ahmed sees more JVs in Gulf business aviation

DUBAI—Joint ventures and partnerships in business aviation will be the order of the day in the Middle East, which is emerging as a key market for the executive travel segment with growth estimated by as much as 22 per cent in some months, Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates Airlines, said yesterday.

By Isaac John

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Published: Sun 20 Nov 2005, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:21 PM

Addressing the Middle East Business Aviation Conference, which opened yesterday in Dubai, he said Dubai alone recorded a growth of 51.9 per cent in the first half of this year in executive aviation. "The face of business aviation in the region has changed rapidly over the past five years with the emergence of new air charter companies, of fractional ownership schemes and an increase in the private ownership of business jets. Civil aviation operators are paying an increased attention to this significant sector and the new airport build, expansion and refurbishment programmes under way through out the region now include dedicated air charter terminals. This all points to expectations of even greater market growth — growth we all must be prepared for," he was quoted at the event.

According to the aviation manufacturers association, the demand for charter and fractional ownership in the region has also been on the increase — growing 39 per cent over the same two years in the charter field while fractional shares in private jets rose by 5.5 per cent last year.

Currently, it is estimated that around 250 private jets are operated in the AGCC - and our forecasts are that they should reach 300 by the end of next year. Private chartered jet travel is on the increase locally. Dubai received around 252 private chartered jets during the first week of the Dubai Shopping Festival this year, while Abu Dhabi airport currently received around 50 flights a month from the private jet sector.

"I am now even more optimistic about the future of this event — and predict we will see it grow substantially in the years to come. 9/11 was a tragic day in the history of Aviation. However, Middle East region was hardly affected. As in so many fields, that date was a turning point for business aviation regional as so many VIP travellers sought alternative, and what they perceived was a more secure means of travel. Indeed, industry statistics show that worldwide, demand for private jets rose by 40 per cent in the two years following 9/11," Shaikh Ahmed said.

"In the Middle East, where the industry is growing and evolving very fast, there are six charter operators — three of these are based in the UAE, two in Dubai and Royal Jet of course in Abu Dhabi, but also with an office in Dubai," he said. "As the industry grows so will the competition — but something we in the Middle East thrive on — believing it develops the market more quickly," Shaikh Ahmed said.


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