Saraya Aviation, a startup charter operator formed earlier this year in Abu Dhabi to serve the growing number of executive and government VIP customers seeking private travel in the Middle East, signed an order here yesterday for three Gulfstream G450s.
The airplanes will join three Piaggio Avantis the company also has on order. Scheduled for delivery in 2010, the G450s will operate from Saraya locations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Amman, Jordan and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and move to other airports as demand dictates. The company hopes to begin operations with the first of its Avantis next year, using the sleek pusher turboprops for short-range flights throughout the region.
Gulfstream president Joe Lombardo and Saraya CEO Ali Kolaghassi signed the contract for the long-range G450s at a press conference here yesterday afternoon. Noting afterward that the Middle East continues to be a “growing and important” market for Gulfstream, Lombardo said 88 of its business jets are currently based in the region, up from 60 in 2002.
Saraya Aviation is owned by Saraya Holdings, a real estate development and asset management company that invests in the travel and tourism industry worldwide. The company plans to spend $1.4 billion to build a chain of Gulf resort islands in Ras Al Khaimah near the UAE’s border with Oman.