MEBA Convention News

ImperialJet adding more jets to fleet

 - November 16, 2008, 5:35 AM

Beirut-based ImperialJet plans to add airplanes to its charter and management fleet at an impressive rate in the next six months as the three-year old company seeks to grow its Middle East client base. The firm took delivery recently of two new Learjet 60XR models and plans to add two more 60XRs and three Challenger 850s in the coming months.

The aircraft join a fleet that includes a Boeing 737, Gulfstream III, Challenger 604 and Learjet 60. All of the new airplanes joining the fleet will be registered in Germany under the operating certificate of ImperialJet’s European partner, JetAir Flug, and offered in fractional shares ranging from a whole new airplane down to a quarter share.

“We are 100 percent a Middle Eastern company and also wholly a European company,” said ImperialJet chief operating officer James Barlow. “We are not a U.S. or European company with a small outpost in the Middle East, but rather a strong partnership of two companies with a fully staffed head sales office in Beirut.”

ImperialJet (Stand No. 522) currently has 15 pilots and another 16 support personnel who staff a flight operations center in Beirut. Maintenance is handled at JetAir Flug’s base in Zweibruecken, Germany. The two companies have around 80 employees.

Focused on providing “professionalism with a personal touch,” ImperialJet pilots are trained to serve not just as airmen but also as company representatives. Flight attendants are sent to a finishing school in Lucerne, Switzerland, “to learn things they weren’t taught at Emirates,” Barlow said.

Two ImperialJet fractional customers so far have opted to purchase whole airplanes, while the remaining have bought half or one-third shares. Customers can opt to sell back their share after five years and pay monthly management fees and occupied hourly charges similar to other fractional operations. All ImperialJet airplanes are offered for charter when they are not being used by shareowners.