Prestige Jet wants to tap into Mideast charter market

 - May 23, 2007, 10:25 AM

Newly formed Gulf charter company Prestige Jet has been set up by principals previously involved in Dubai-based charter company Gulf Jet. Abu Dhabi-based Prestige Jet–not to be confused with New Jersey-based Prestige Jet Charter–is owned by Al-Ghaith Holdings, the aviation arm of the Al-Yasi group, which previously had a financial partnership with Gulf Jet.

For its start-up fleet, Prestige is negotiating the lease of a 10-seat Bombardier Challenger 604 and an eight-seat Hawker 800XP from Jordan’s Arab Wings (Booth No. 684) for an initial (but extendable) one-year period. Until recently, these two aircraft had been operated by Gulf Jet, which has moved quickly to acquire replacement Cessna Citation charter capacity. Prestige aims to acquire another example of each type before receiving two newly ordered Grob SPns in 2009.

Prestige managing director Faris Deeb, formerly executive manager of Gulf Jet, said, “More and more people are recognizing the advantages afforded by executive-charter flights. Businessmen and often government leaders are demanding faster and more reliable transport and many are using private charter jets.”

The company plans to become an “integrated private-jet solutions provider,” offering broker, charter and aircraft-management services. Initially providing one-off charter capacity, it plans to meet all options, including potentially multiple trips under contract plans. 

Deeb told EBACE Convention News that Prestige is negotiating to buy one of the two Challenger 604s offered for sale here on the ramp by Aero Toy Store. The two Grob SPns are being acquired against perceived future demand for midsize cabins. Deeb said the Grob SPn offers “beautiful cabin capacity for six to eight passengers, with tremendous baggage capacity. And it can land anywhere.”

Acquisition of aircraft is the first of three important moves, he said. Second, Prestige is negotiating to reserve land for a planned FBO operation at Abu Dhabi, where handling would be contracted to Signature or Jet Aviation. Third, Prestige will establish its charter activity as a brokerage arm of Al Ghaith Holdings.