Dubai-based Eastern Skyjets has received a United Arab Emirates air operator’s certificate, enabling it to develop its charter business with a locally registered aircraft. For the past 18 months it has been flying a South African-registered Cessna Citation Eagle jet under a special exemption.
The aircraft is being offered for short-range charter, with Eastern Skyjets aiming particularly at multinational companies’ middle managers. Sales and marketing director Tahir Khan told Aviation International News that very many charter operators in the region aim at “VIP of VVIP” customers and thus miss a potential market for which cost can be an issue.
Khan said the Citation Eagle is an ideal aircraft for short hops around the Gulf area, where businessmen may find there is not good connectivity via scheduled airlines, even between important city points. He sees cities such Doha, Kuwait, Riyadh, and Muscat as typical of the destinations that could prove popular. Asked about prices, Khan suggests that a round trip to Doha (Qatar) could be offered for around AED 45,000 ($12,500), whereas competitors would charge that as an hourly rate for three hours.
Looking forward, Eastern Skyjets has plans to introduce additional longer-range capacity with aircraft such as Bombardier Learjet 55 or Cessna Citation II that would be flown under its AOC in joint arrangements with operators having spare capacity. Khan sees an expanding market in Dubai and characterizes the Eastern Skyjets operation as offering “a Toyota where everyone else is flying Rolls-Royces and BMWs.”
The company also flies a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, which is dedicated to providing support to coalition forces with regular flights to Kandahar and Bagram in Afghanistan.