MEBAA Convention News

Prestige Jet’s rapid growth continues

 - November 16, 2008, 5:37 AM

Prestige Jet, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered business aircraft charter operator that operates from the newly named Abu Dhabi City Airport, announced at the show yesterday that it would become part of a new wide-ranging holding company, Prestige Holding. As well as Prestige Jet, the existing charter operation, the holding company will have five other subsidiary companies–Prestige Invest, Prestige Jet Spain, Prestige Flight Ambulance, Prestige Flight Support and Prestige Jet Brokerage Services.

Prestige Holding chairman Gaith Ben Hamel Al-Gaith, said that the company is also in the process of developing plans for three new fixed-based operations, located in Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain. The rapid growth of Prestige Jet started with its launch at the EBACE show in May 2007, and it has reached a point now where the company has 11 aircraft and has signed a letter of intent for five Gulfstream G650s. It will take delivery of the first Embraer Lineage 1000 this month, and manage it on behalf of its Middle East-based owner.

“We don’t intend to stop here,” said Al-Gaith, who recognized the support of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

Prestige Jet Spain is essentially a rebranded Flylink Express, the Madrid-based operator recently acquired by Prestige. Jose Fernandes, who has been appointed general manager of the new Spanish operation, said: “This deal, together with the other developments announced today, make Prestige a serious contender on the world stage of business aviation. I hope that Spain is going to be the launchpad to other European and international markets.” He added that with a European AOC, Prestige can fly from Europe to anywhere.

Faris Deeb, who becomes vice chairman of Prestige Holding, added that it was “attractive to have EU OPS [the new European AOC structure] so we can operate in Europe without any restrictions–avoiding the long list of permits [required of a non-EU operator].” Deeb added that its Spanish operation, which makes Prestige “the first Arabian operator in Europe,” already has a Learjet 60, a Citation Bravo and a Legacy 600, to which a Challenger 850 will be added as the fourth aircraft.

Prestige Flight Ambulance is to be formed after a contract is awarded by the Abu Dhabi General Health Authority. “I am proud to announce that we are equipping one of our Challenger 604 aircraft to become our dedicated medical evacuation and repatriation jet out of Abu Dhabi City Airport. This will enable us to have longer direct flights and allows more family members to accompany patients on the plane,” said Yousuf Al-Ghareeb, business development director of Prestige Holding.