A booming regional economy, shifting travel patterns and aggressive sales representation have combined to propel remarkable growth in the fleet of Cessna Citation business jets in the region. By the beginning of 2006, Cessna will have 30 Citations based in the Middle East, with additional aircraft on order, according to Roger Whyte, senior vice president sales and marketing. Tellingly, approximately two thirds of those aircraft have been delivered within the last 18 months.
Riyadh-based Wallan Aviation, which has been Cessna’s authorized sales representative in the region for the last five years, deserves much of the credit, according to Whyte. In 2005, Wallan sold more Citations than any other authorized sales representative in Cessna’s worldwide network. While widebody business aircraft have traditionally dominated the region, Whyte sees ample opportunity for Cessna as local businesses employ owned or chartered business aircraft to fly within the region. To serve that market, Wallan recently received a charter certificate and will launch Business Wings, a new charter company, in 2006.
Cessna success has not been limited to jets. On Sunday, the firm inked a deal for five 172 Skyhawk single-engine piston aircraft with Horizon International, a Dubai-based flight training operation.
To support the growing fleet, Cessna will for the first time open an office in Dubai early next year, initially staffed by one field service representative and a regional sales director.