This past year has seen Embraer’s influence traverse industry sectors and spread to every corner of the globe. No longer simply a regional airline supplier, the Brazilian company has seen its products find homes with the likes of Air Canada, Finnair, Hong Kong Express, Panama’s Copa and India’s Paramount Airlines.
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Boeing has appointed former Saudi Arabian Airlines executive Ahmed Jazzar to the new position of president of Boeing Saudi Arabia, overseeing all the group’s activities in the country. Sales and marketing responsibilities will remain with the various Boeing business units, namely Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Integrated Defense Systems, Connexion by Boeing and Boeing Capital Corp.
The number of business jets registered in Middle Eastern countries has grown by about one-fifth over the past 10 years. By the standards of other still emerging markets like Europe (45 percent growth over the same period), the Middle East’s 18-percent fleet growth doesn’t inspire awe. It does, however, dwarf the 8-percent hike seen in Asia–a market over which most business aircraft makers salivate.
A decade ago, any discussion of the private aircraft market in the Middle East was generally limited to members of the royal families as customers, and the airplanes were for the most part executive/VIP versions of widebody airliners.
Never a hotbed of activity for the West’s two regional jet makers, the Middle East market for RJs has long seemed as barren as the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. But like the oil riches that lie beneath the desert sands, the need for smaller, more efficient airplanes has finally surfaced with a little coaxing, as Embraer proved in late April.
Europe-headquartered handling group Swissport and maintenance provider Arabasco (Arab Airplane Services Co.) of Saudi Arabia have formed a new joint venture to establish FBOs at Jeddah and Riyadh. Handling operations for business aircraft could begin at both Saudi airports as soon as next month or November.
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