UAE and Saudi Arabia to Drive Business Aviation Growth

DUBAI - The UAE, the second largest market in the Middle East for business and VIP jets after Saudi Arabia, will continue to witness growth in business aviation this year despite the global financial melt-down, analysts said.

By Issac John

Published: Thu 19 Feb 2009, 12:42 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 10:25 PM

The UAE, which together with Saudi Arabia accounts for more than 65 per cent of business jets and VIP aircraft in the Middle East, currently has 150 business jets in operation and on order as of December 2008, according to the Middle East Business Aircraft Association.

“The double-digit economic growth achieved by the region over the past five years is leading to the creation of a sizeable and highly active business aviation market, along with the infrastructure to support it,” analysts at Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said.

Most aviation analyst are of the view that the Middle East business aviation market was on track to reach $800 million by 2012. The movement of small business planes in the Middle East is growing by 18 per cent a year compared with the global average of 10 per cent.

Basel Arrar, Chairman and CEO of Al Ajneha, a new consortium of companies set up to provide a diverse range of support services to the business aviation, said the private jet business in the region accounted for a substantial portion of the global industry.

“Despite the current financial situation, it will continue to grow in demand. At Al Ajneha we will support this growth by providing a one-stop-shop for quality support services by partnering with companies that will bring best-in-class technical know-how to our offering,” he said.

Over the past three years, Dubai International Airport has seen a 30 per cent increase in charter and executive aircraft movements, a trend underscoring UAE’s growing status as a “major pillar of business aviation in the region” as described by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation in its Middle East Aviation Outlook 2009 report.

Arrar said Al Ajneha, which is based in the UAE, would be one of the region’s largest integrated support providers for business jet owners and operators. “We will bring together five entities in a synergetic approach that complements each other’s service offering ranging from executive jet operations and support to aircraft finance and leasing and other related services.

“All five units will, together, provide the synergy we need to be the partner of choice for this region’s business jet operators. Our integrated approach will ensure that our customers and partners will be able to have all their requirements serviced by Al Ajneha.”

Royal Wings, a founding member of the Al Ajneha group, is currently one of the region’s leading flight support services providers that specialises in servicing corporate charter and commercial flight operations from its base in Kuwait.

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