The Middle East business aircraft fleet has shrunk by 6 percent, according to market analyst Brian Foley. “The Middle Eastern business jet population has declined from 550 to 516 aircraft in the last 12 months,” reported Foley in December. “It represents a fleet contraction…mostly in large and midsize business jets with an aggregate value approaching three-quarters of a billion dollars that were either sold, grounded or repossessed.”
Foley was reluctant to attribute the reduction in numbers to local upheavals, leadership changes and general unrest but said it is “simply residual fallout from the worldwide economic recession; [it is] certainly not cause for celebration, but still a sign of normal economic behavior as opposed to the repercussion of political events, and that’s a very healthy signal.” Foley, who heads Brian Foley Associates of Sparta, N.J., went on to say that marginal players and underfinanced newcomers were generally the hardest hit over the past year. Larger and more solidly established operators were less affected–“scared but not scarred,” Foley said. He warned that existing operators should read the reduction of the fleet as advice to manage their assets wisely.