Beirut-based Ibex Air Charter is making its public debut at MEBA with a plan to introduce a new fare model to the Middle East charter market.
"I want to start charging on a one-way system, which makes [charter] very feasible and economical," said Munzer Awaida, Ibex Air Charter's consultant for business development. "So now is the opportunity for me to put something in front of the aviation market."
Awaida, with long aviation experience in the region, was brought to Ibex by owner Ahmed El-Hage, who also operates his family-owned Trans Air Congo Airlines, based in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Ibex currently operates a Hawker 850XP, and plans to add a Challenger 604 and a Hawker 800A to its fleet soon. The 800A will be based in Brazzaville, where El-Hage operates a hospital for trauma victims, and will also be used for air ambulance service.
Air charter flights have traditionally been sold at round trip rates, to cover the cost of returning the aircraft to its home base, even if the charter customers travel only one way. But over the past year one-way pricing has seen significant growth in the North American market, and Awaida believes Ibex can successfully replicate this model in this region. Potential charter customers have already queried the company about buying block charter time, and Awaida thinks that activity will lead to the availability of "empty leg" return flights that can seed the one-way fare market.
"We'll charge 50 percent [of the full fare, one-way rate] on empty legs," Awaida said. As for the full fare, one-way prices, "We are not expensive, [but] we are not cheap," he adde