Saudi Arabia’s NasJet Private Aviation, the business-jet unit of the Flynas Group, has sold a number of aircraft and will concentrate on a new model focusing on aircraft management. Consolidation of the group is well underway, Yosef F. Hafiz, NasJet vice president of sales and marketing, commercial, told AIN.
“Flynas intends to conduct an IPO next year. Over the past year, the consolidation of all three primary companies in the NAS Holding Group, Flynas, the airline, NasJet, the private aviation side of the business, and our Hajj and Umrah operations—wet leases of larger aircraft for mass movements of people from particular countries into Madinah and Jeddah—has been taking place. There is a fourth handling company, a joint venture with ExecuJet, headquartered in Riyadh,” he said.
“NasJet Private Aviation has seen a lot of restructuring. We have sold many of the aircraft we owned. Sale of [our] Hawker 750s has taken place, and we have also returned three Gulfstream GIV-SPs to CIT, from whom we were leasing them. At NasJet, moving away from ownership of aircraft was the objective, to focus on revenues and profits. We want to refocus more on charter and management.”
He said that NasJet’s ability to charter aircraft successfully would later lead to new purchases from major OEMs like Airbus, Bombardier or Gulfstream, as increases in charter revenue make ownership more cost-effective.
“There is a diversity to the types of aircraft we manage and operate. They include 11 fully managed; four MRO managed; and four fully-owned aircraft, for a total of 19 aircraft. The figure was 24 last year. We have sold the four Hawker 750s. We have 13 different types of aircraft that we manage. That is the interesting part, the diversity,” he said.
“The largest one is a Boeing 767 with a VVIP configuration. The list continues with a BBJ3, an ACJ318, a G650ER, a GV, a number of G450s, a GIV-SP, some Legacy 600s, a Hawker 800XP, which is for sale, a Falcon 2000, also for sale, a Citation Excel, a number of Citation Bravo 550s, and a De Havilland Twin-Otter DHC6, which is a twin turboprop able to operate to remote areas in the Empty Quarter.”
Hafiz conceded that less flying had taken place in the kingdom in 2018. “We have seen that. We are looking at our budget for 2019. I have to forecast flying hours for the aircraft we own. I looked at data for this year to date, January to September, and the forecast to year-end indicates less flying. I would say by year’s end it will have fallen 20 to 30 percent.”
He said Saudia Private Aviation is moving away from its previous charter model, which could provide additional opportunities for NasJet. “They sold two Falcon 7Xs recently and are moving away from their previous charter on the Falcons and Hawkers. They are focusing more on the ground handling business in Jeddah,” he said.
Hafiz said the lack of available hangar space continues to make life difficult for owners and operators. “This is a topic for a lot of people internally. [Many] businessmen are interested in investing in it in Jeddah and Riyadh. The only hangarage that was available to us is no longer available. You do see business jets sitting in the sun with no protection,” he said.
Hafiz was keen to stress NasJet’s new message to the market. “With us, they will meet all the [regulatory] requirements, and can move around freely in Saudi Arabia, as well as in and out. There are no compliance issues with the regulations. I really feel we need to do this community some good.”