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.
Gulfstream Beijing has been approved as a Part 145 maintenance facility by the Civil Aviation Administration of China and is now authorized to work on aircraft registered in that country. Gulfstream Beijing is a joint venture among Gulfstream and two subsidiaries of Hainan Airlines Group: Deer Jet and Hainan Aviation Technik. The latter offers MRO services, and Deer Jet, China’s largest business jet charter provider, has the biggest Gulfstream fleet in China.
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.
San Francisco-based XOJet and TWC Aviation announced an alliance today under which TWC joins XOJet’s exclusive platinum partner network and TWC becomes a “preferred provider” for XOJet clients interested in aircraft ownership, management or private jet sales and acquisition services. Additionally, XOJet plans to leverage the TWC Aviation charter fleet of large-cabin business jets throughout North America and Asia. TWC manages more than 50 business aircraft throughout the U.S. and abroad, with offices in San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles and New York.