MEBAA Convention News

Al Jaber’s 21-jet order blitz signals its arrival in bizav elite

 - November 16, 2008, 9:09 AM

Al Jaber Aviation (Stand No. 415) yesterday unveiled details of its entry into the VIP and corporate aviation market and announced a $1.2 billion investment for the acquisition of no fewer than 21 aircraft. The first of its mixed fleet of large-cabin aircraft will enter service in February 2009 and will be based at the AJA initial base at City Airport Abu Dhabi (the former Al Bateen military air base).

An Embraer Legacy 600 will be the first aircraft to enter the AJA fleet, to be followed by a second of the 13-seat type, plus five 19-seat Embraer Lineage 1000s and eight next-generation Legacy 450/500 mid-sized jets with six to nine seats. Heading the fleet will be four Airbus A318 Elites with 19 seats, to offer unmatched cabin volume and the range to fly nonstop to all of Europe, Africa and Asia. Finally, two Airbus Corporate Jetliners with seating for up to 32 passengers will In announcing this major new development in the United Arab Emirates, chief executive Mohammed Al Jaber put it into the context of a world that is experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis, noting that so far this year around 30 airlines have ceased trading, with another 20 on the critical watch list. However, Al Jaber declared: “Here in the Middle East the sector continues to carve highly lucrative opportunities across the aviation sector–none more so than in business aviation.”

He noted that a recently commissioned study revealed that the Middle East business aviation sector is achieving a compounded annual growth rate of 40 percent, while the VIP charter market is considered to be worth about $500 million per year and growing at the rate of 25 percent annually. “The hub of that expansion is the UAE,” Al Jaber said, noting that customer numbers are increasing as evidence in the growth of regional aircraft movement–46 percent in Abu Dhabi, with Dubai accounting for 38 percent; Jeddah, 18 percent; Riyadh, 12 percent and Damman, 10 percent.

Observing that many of its competitors in this region are also in an expansion mode, while operators from Europe are seeing their businesses grow by building a presence here, Al Jaber held firmly to his belief that there is enough growth in the market for everyone to succeed. Consequently, he is confident that Al Jaber Aviation will enter and build a leading position in a fast-growing and profitable market.

Offering services from Dubai International Airport as well as City Airport Abu Dhabi, AJA also has plans to offer a professional aircraft management services to private owners and will introduce a technical consultancy together with a range of training services to other aviation operators.

AJA is part of the privately owned Al Jaber Group established in 1970, which has grown to become the largest private sector employer in the UAE with some 55,000 on its payroll. It also boasts the largest fleet of vessels, machinery equipment and 320 construction cranes.