Analysis of the national aircraft registers of Middle Eastern countries gives the strong impression that next to no private or corporate flying happens in the region. In fact, the ramps of Middle Eastern airports are routinely occupied by aircraft owned by local individuals and companies that have opted to register them in places like Bermuda, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the U.S.
The vast majority of aircraft actually logged on the Middle East’s national registers appears on the record as royal, military or government service vehicles. That said, in some countries the definition of “royal service” can vary widely, as can the notion of the government flight department. In some Arab Gulf states, the government almost acts like a corporation, with officials moving around like company executives to oversee their fast-moving redevelopment programs.
In fact, however, the number of for-hire and corporate business aircraft operators in the Middle East has grown and some now appear on local registers. Saudi Arabia’s books, for example, show aircraft owned by NetJets Middle East, Arabasco and Dallah Al Baraka. Other locally registered operators include: Bexair (Bahrain); Arab Wings (Jordan); Fahed Fadel (Lebanon); Executive Wings Aviation, Pyramid Airlines and National Aviation Co (all Egypt); Kuwait Airways; ExecuJet Middle East, Royal Jet and Fujairah Aviation Centre (all United Arab Emirates).
The Middle East is also home to more than 60 turboprop-powered business and utility aircraft. The vast majority serve in government and military service.