Dubai-based aircraft sales and aircraft management specialist and operator of the region’s largest fleet of business jets,Empire Aviation Group, which has been a subsidiary of Air Works India Engineering since 2012, is looking to expand support to the booming Southeast Asia market. A strategic tie-up is to be announced in the first quarter of 2014, Paras Dhamecha, executive director at Empire Aviation, told AIN.
Empire started its services in Bangalore early this year and is now taking “the Air Works marriage forward,” said Dhamecha. As markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand boom, he added, “we will create an international brand east of India–not China. Southeast Asia and Hong Kong are active [markets]…Our focus is to support that growth, while not physically being there.” He refused to elaborate further, however.
The present conflict in the Middle East has made the Gulf region “a safe haven for incoming cash, and buoyant again,” said Dhamecha. Empire plans to use Dubai World Central Al Makhtoum International Airport and Sharjah as alternatives to DIA, which is becoming increasingly congested. “DIA wasn’t going to last too long. Besides, DWC is closer to the New Dubai and provides flexibility to our clients,” Dhamecha added.
Trends in management have taken a 360-degree turn, according to Dhamecha. Of the 23 aircraft the group manages worldwide, only four are available for charter services. “A few years ago, we had 18 jets, with 12 owned by charter companies. As the Middle East economy evolved, more people could afford jets and didn’t need to use charters,” he said. This is an antithesis to a growing market like India where business continues to be sluggish. Empire has two jets–a Gulfstream G450and a Challenger 300–under management at HAL Bangalore Airport in India. Through the partnership with Air Works, Empire offers its asset management service and Air Works carries out the maintenance.