Aircraft registrations in the Middle East business aviation market could grow to 1,300 units by the end of the decade, and business aviation in the Middle East is undergoing unprecedented changes, according to Thierry Boutsen, former Formula 1 race-car driver and founder of Monaco-based brokerage Boutsen Aviation.
“It’s a market that has more than doubled over the past five years, and is expected to remain on that trajectory in the next five years,” he said. “The region took 246 business aircraft deliveries in 2006-11, a 132-percent increase [on] the 106 deliveries that occurred between 2002 and 2006. Registrations could grow to 1,300 units by 2020.”
Founded in 1997, following Boutsen’s successful racing career, Boutsen Aviation acts as a clearinghouse for the sale of new and pre-owned aircraft, and manages aircraft and oversees completions. An interior design practice, Boutsen Design (Booth 5120), is run by Boutsen’s wife Daniela. The importance of attention to detail in the Middle East is underscored by the fact that 70 percent of Boutsen Design’s business is in that region.
Boutsen Aviation appointed a representative in Dubai in 2012. “We have a big database in the Middle East. At the moment, 30 percent of our clients come from the region. That number is increasing year by year, thanks to our office [in Dubai]. Some of the major charter companies are buying equipment in the U.S.,” Boutsen told AIN. “We started to see a pick-up in sales two years ago. 2012 was a very good year for us, and [also] 2013. [And] we’ve had a brilliant start to 2014.”
At the forefront of change is the Saudi Arabian market, said Boutsen, one of the largest and most important locations in the regional business-aviation industry. With more than 300 private jets based in the kingdom, worth an estimated $5.3 billion, Saudi Arabia today accounts for 21 percent of the business jets in the Middle East, making it the most mature market. “The United Arab Emirates follows with a 17-percent share.
Both nations experienced triple-digit growth in the number of business aircraft over the past five years: 146 percent in Saudi Arabia and 250 percent in the UAE. Analysts predict 20 percent growth in 2014 and say the estimated number of private business jets in Saudi Arabia is expected to more than double to over 800 by 2017 and to 1,420 by 2032,” the company said.
“In Saudi Arabia, private jet ownership is increasingly viewed by the region’s elite as a business necessity rather than a luxury,” Boutsen told AIN. “While small and midsize jets are regularly used for domestic requirements, reports indicate that the greatest demand is for larger private-jet types suitable for key international routes such as Saudi Arabia to London and Moscow, as well as other key business and leisure destinations in the region.”
Boutsen said his company had had work done at Jet Aviation’s completions center in Basel, as well as Amac Aerospace Switzerland AG, also in Basel. “Both companies are doing very well as far as quality is concerned. We have special relationships with all the European completion centers though our participation at airshows and exhibitions.”