The FAA has granted Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia repair station authorization for Gulfstream aircraft. The approval allows the MRO to support its customers in Jeddah and Riyadh with light scheduled maintenance (A checks) on the Gulfstream II, GIII, GIV and GV.
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) has embarked on a second five-year plan this year to improve service and concentrate on new lines of business. It expects to be a leading player as the number of Middle East-based private aircraft grows to around 800 aircraft in 2020, CEO Faisal Kayal said.
In a Saudi press interview earlier this year, Kayal said SPA would focus on four areas: private aircraft leasing; management and operation; ground services and logistics; and maintenance. He added that it was putting the “final touches” to its new five-year plan.
Alpha Star Aviation Services, the newest player in the Saudi private aviation market, provides flight operations, technical support, VIP flight-support services and administration, with a focus on air ambulance flights after being set up in 2010.
The Saudi market accounts for almost half of the 550 business jets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and is growing at 10 percent a year, the head of a leading Saudi Arabian aviation company said in Riyadh at last month’s Middle East Business Aviation Conference.
Saudi Arabia saw almost 30,000 business jet movements last year, including 10,737 in Riyadh, 9,740 at Dammam and 9,392 in Jeddah (a total of 29,869 movements), according to data compiled by WingX for the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) show. Boeing has the strongest OEM presence in the kingdom, with 38 aircraft in 10 Middle East countries; since 2000, Airbus has sold 13 new aircraft in the region, Embraer eight and Bombardier five.
Dassault Aviation delivered nine Falcon business jets to operators in the Middle East last year, pushing the Falcon fleet in the region to almost 70 aircraft. “We are on a trend to increase our fleet by 10 percent. That is what we managed to do last year,” said Renauld Cloatre, Dassault’s Dubai-based Falcon sales director, speaking at the Air Expo show in Abu Dhabi today.
The recently appointed head of Saudi Arabia-based luxury charter firm Saudia Private Aviation (SPA) said Middle East charter demand growth stood at 8 percent this year, exceeding the worldwide industry figure, but behind Russia, India and the Asia Pacific region.
Faisal G. Kayal, managing director of SPA, said the region is witnessing “strong economic growth.” Kayal replaced Wajdi Al Idrissi, the former head of the company, in May.
Saudi Arabia’s MRO players are seasoned operators. Alsalam Aircraft Co. (Stand 1718) is one of the two or three leading players in the kingdom and a pioneer in aircraft maintenance, modification and technical support in the Middle East. It carries out corporate, VIP and military work for customers worldwide.
The Middle East and northern Africa have become fertile areas for marketers at Brazil’s Embraer, now the undisputed leader in terms of fleet presence in the region among the world’s regional airliner manufacturers. Of course, the nearly decade-long effort to gain a foothold in a region long considered the virtually exclusive domain of widebodies didn’t yield immediate results, but Embraer’s persistence has undoubtedly paid handsome dividends.
Sudden sandstorms in the Middle East’s deserts are just one of the problems complicating the task of the region’s maintenance providers. At the recent MRO Middle East conference in Dubai, delegates heard that airlines often need to delay or even cancel departures on short notice due to unforeseen maintenance needs caused by sand and dust. Engines, bleed-air systems and air-conditioning packs are especially vulnerable to the region’s hot and unpredictable conditions.
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