MEBAA Convention News

London Executive Aviation Seeks UAE Partner

 - December 12, 2012, 11:15 AM
Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, LEA’s chief executive, and managing director George Galanopoulos

London Executive Aviation, a well-known name in the European charter market, is seeking to expand its operations in the Middle East to help it fill return legs and iron out seasonal variations. To make this move the company looking for a similar local operator, with whom LEA could place one or two of their aircraft.

LEA is the world’s biggest Embraer Legacy operator, with seven 600s and two 650s on the books currently, and two more 650s coming soon. Operations are currently centered on London, while a single Legacy is now based in Moscow to serve the growing Russian market. In the next two or three months LEA expects to open an office in Athens, where another Legacy will be based.

Many of LEA’s operations from western Europe are to the Middle East, and the company reports that this business continues to grow. However, there is also a growing occurrence of aircraft flying empty return legs, as well as a seasonal dip in the European market in the period after the New Year. A partnership with a Middle East company would allow LEA not only to fill many of those empty legs, but also to generate more business from the region and to allow a reciprocal arrangement to cover seasonal variations. For the Middle East the late summer is generally a low season, and a partnership could help both operators balance their fleets more efficiently.

LEA is proposing that one or two of its Legacy aircraft could be based in the Middle East, where the type’s size and range are seen as ideal for most charters. An ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance & insurance) lease deal is the favored method of placing aircraft in the region.

LEA is concentrating on finding an operator of a similar size in the UAE. “We’re looking for the right partner,” said George Galanopoulos, LEA’s managing director, “and they need to be ambitious enough.” o