Jetex is moving forward with global expansion as it eyes a new FBO at Nice, France’s second-largest executive airport, and hopes for a swift cessation of hostilities in Ukraine so that it can put its FBO there back into operation.
“Jetex will continue expanding outside North America after the slowdown during the health crisis,” company founder and CEO Adel Mardini told AIN. “I am confident that we will have 50 FBOs by the end of 2024.” Today, Jetex has three operational centers—in Dubai, Beijing, and Miami—and a global network of 35 FBOs—which it calls private terminals—and several ground-handling stations.
In France, it has bid on the FBO tender at Nice. “Nice is a gamechanger,” Mardini said. “With 36,000 movements per annum, it is a key destination. While Paris Le Bourget is the biggest business aviation airport in Europe, Nice comes second, and Farnborough third. In the U.S., Teterboro, with 90,000 movements, is largest, although it is mostly small jets—around 90 percent of them fly domestic short-haul.”
Jetex has a strong development pipeline that includes key global locations. “Nice is a top destination for many private jet travelers and we hope our application to establish the Jetex presence there, which would complement Jetex Paris Le Bourget, will be successful. The authorities will make their decision over the coming months and we hope to make an announcement soon.”
The company’s FBO network in France consists of 17 locations that are the result of cooperation with French airport operator EDEIS Group, for whom it promotes business aviation as strategic FBO partner. Now CEO of French airport developer Armys, Youssef Sabeh was CEO at EDEIS in 2017 when it entered into a co-branding agreement with Jetex.
“Business aviation in France is a promising sector and Jetex is a dynamic partner, always seeking out opportunities to expand its network,” Sabeh told AIN. “I would not be surprised to see new alliances and strategic partnerships take place in the future.”
Mardini confirmed that Jetex often seeks to establish a ground-handling presence in a country or airport, as a precursor to a later decision to establish an FBO. Latin America remains a key growth area, and Jetex recently established such operations in Ecuador and Peru. On April 19, the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) announced that Jetex had joined as an affiliate member.
“Dubai was once a ground-handling station only,” Mardini explained. “It all depends on a particular destination. Sometimes we have to wait years for a tender. In other locations, like Marseille, we made an acquisition. Every single case is different. We had to wait nine years in Marseille.”
Le Bourget, where Jetex opened its first FBO, has long been a bellwether of the company's progress. “France is a big opportunity for us,” he said. “The tremendous success of Jetex in Paris created awareness about our brand, and today we are present in key locations across France, including Marseille and Toulouse.”
According to Mardini, Le Bourget boasted the strongest FBO operators in the world—Signature Flight Support, Landmark Aviation, and Universal Weather and Aviation. ”We arrived in 2009 and by 2011 achieved a market share of almost 20 percent, which we kept growing ever since,” Mardini said.
“Last year, there were about 40,000 movements out of which Jetex Paris handled more than 12,000, a market share of 30 percent. We are grateful for the loyalty and trust of the major charter operators: VistaJet, NetJets, Global Jet, and TAG Aviation.”
Jetex has also seen strong numbers at its facility at the VIP terminal at Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport. “We are pleased with the results both in Paris and in Dubai. Last year, Jetex’s VIP terminal in Dubai saw more than 16,000 movements. We handled more than 10,800 flights, or 68 percent, which gave us the biggest market share in Dubai,” Mardini told AIN.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a sudden lull in operations in Europe and surrounding areas, he said. “The start of the special operation was a shock to the market and a number of flights were disrupted,” he noted. “However, I believe that the market will soon stabilize and recover.”
Jetex’s Ukraine team is currently outside the country. “They left Kyiv and suspended operations for the time being,” according to Mardini. “We invested in the facility in Kyiv and it showed good results. Now we have lost that, but thankfully our team is safe. We all look forward to the peaceful settlement of the current operation. Oil is [over $100 a barrel], which affects the business.”
Mardini is also eyeing growth at Seletar Airport in Singapore, which appeared to be putting Covid behind it earlier this year. Jetex signed a deal in 2020 to open an FBO there in association with Bombardier.
“In 2021, the entire Asian market was grounded due to the health crisis,” Mardini said. “Jetex Singapore handled 6,500 flights, which was significantly above our original forecast of 4,000. After almost two years, Singapore is open to international travelers once again and we look forward to expanding our operations there.”
As usual, Jetex has a major presence this week at EBACE. “I never miss EBACE. It is a key event,” Mardini said.