Dubai-based trip support and FBO services provider Jetex Flight Support is eyeing expansion in the U.S., as it continues to build a global FBO network that is expected to reach around 50 facilities by the end of 2020, its top official told AIN on the eve of the NBAA show.
The company's major focus at NBAA-BACE would be to present a version of the proprietary software Jetex is developing, which allows operators and clients to register automatically with the company, Adel Mardini, Jetex president and CEO, told AIN. He said 150 aircraft run by Europe-based operators are already on its system and he expects 1,000, including many operated from the U.S., to be on Jetex’s books by the end of next year.
As it seeks to develop a broader U.S. FBO network, Jetex believes its aviation expertise can be allied with the experience of local U.S. partners to good effect, although it is in no rush.
“Although people here will see the advantage of Jetex in the U.S., and opportunities for partnership with us, we have not yet had the opportunity to open up fully in the U.S. market. The issue in the U.S. market is that you need to have a good network, like those of Atlantic Aviation or Signature Flight Support. Having only one major FBO [Jetex has an operations center at Opa Locka, Florida, and a partnership with the FBO in San Bernardino, California] doesn’t make sense. We look at the U.S. as a market needing a network. That is a huge investment,” Mardini said.
“We would love to [have a full-fledged presence] in the U.S.; I am sure we will bring a new product to the market. For the time being, we are not planning a major U.S. presence until we have built the network. If we are not in a prime location, [which serves as a base for a wider string of FBOs], then our U.S. presence won’t be fully effective. The target is to have a network. Otherwise, it won’t work.”
Jetex’s NBAA booth (2619) will be manned by some 25 staff members. “Our target is the U.S. customer when they are flying out of the U.S. This is the business we are running at the moment. Our operations center provides full trip support and other services for the entire U.S. market.”
Mardini also anticipates growth in Latin America, and even in Argentina, despite the recent economic crisis there. “There is good business in Mexico and Brazil. You can see good business in Chile. FBOs in South America are for the future,” he said.
“We have a small shareholding and management agreement in Brazil, and we hope to build our portfolio slowly. Brazil is a big market, but the infrastructure is missing. São Paolo is the target market. We are targeting to increase our position in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. We are expanding and considering whether to partner or acquire partners. This is not AOC business, so we can take majority stakes. Canada is also a very good market, but we still don’t have any presence there.”
Jetex FBO and other development plans are not limited to the Americas. Over the summer it announced new FBO facilities in Orly, France; Dublin, Ireland; and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Jetex is on target to open 50 FBOs by the end of 2020, Mardini said.
“Hopefully, by the time of the MEBAA Show in Dubai in December, we will be making further announcements about our presence in the Middle East. We already signed memoranda of understanding for two locations in the Middle East, which we will announce at MEBAA. We have a partner and will be adding two or three locations. We have an agreement with them to make the announcement at MEBAA.”