The Middle East market appears to be picking up as part of a gradual recovery from the downturn, but the turnaround is “generally slower than we would have liked,” according to Mike Berry managing director of ExecuJet Middle East.
Qatar’s Rizon Jet (Stand 340) is eyeing business from all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, expanding its aircraft maintenance services and building up its aircraft trading and management offering, while preparing the ground for a move to the new Doha Airport and the establishment of an FBO at Paris Le Bourget airport.
Ali Al Naqbi has been at the heart of business aviation developments in the Middle East for more than a decade, playing a central role in the formation of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), of which he is chairman. This role followed three years as managing director of Abu Dhabi-based aircraft charter and management group Royal Jet. Previously, for almost 20 years, he had been with Abu Dhabi’s Amiri flight, from which Royal Jet was formed.
Royal Jet, the commercial private jet concern owned by the UAE’s Presidential Flight Authority and Abu Dhabi Aviation, is planning a major fleet expansion in 2013, the year of its 10th anniversary. A defection by the nine-jet company away from Boeing, given that Royal Jet owns the world’s largest Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) fleet–six aircraft–would be a major blow for the U.S. manufacturer.
The Middle East remains the sales sweet-spot when it comes to regions that business jet manufacturers look to for customers despite its relatively small size and the rapid emergence of China, Brazil and other countries where momentum is building. This is true in particular of large cabin jets and corporate versions of airliners.
As the business aircraft market continues to recover from the industry downturn, AIN took a look at recent forecasts from manufacturers as to where growth may be heading and the factors that are likely to affect it most.
Embraer Executive Jets’ first U.S.-assembled Phenom 300 was rolled out and made its first flight yesterday, exactly one year after the first Phenom 100 to be produced in the U.S. took its maiden flight. The Phenom 300 started rolling down the company’s Melbourne, Fla. assembly line in September. Delivery of this light jet is scheduled in the first quarter; it will go to the Embraer Executive Jets Melbourne-based flight department, which will use it as a demonstrator.
Embraer Executive Jets has appointed maintenance and refurb center Comlux Aviation Services as the first independent Lineage 1000 authorized service center in North America. Comlux is also an approved service center for the Legacy 600/650. Comlux Aviation Services will support Embraer Executive Jets’ large executive jet fleet by providing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, avionics, structural repairs and interior refurbishments at its Indianapolis facility.
Hawker Beechcraft, which reported a $44 million net loss and $95 million negative cash flow in October, followed that filing with the bankruptcy court by reporting in a separate filing a sales forecast of $1.9 billion in 2013 as a new, standalone company following its emergence from bankruptcy in February.
Marshall Aerospace is entering the pre-owned aircraft sales sector and expanding its executive charter division as part of a relaunch of its business aviation division. Under a new brand called Jetability, the Cambridge, UK-based group is also offering aircraft maintenance, ground handling and management, as well as concierge support and limousines.