With the FIFA World Cup now in full swing, Jetex’s FBO at the VIP Terminal at Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport (OMDW) is likely to be the main beneficiary of movements of day-trippers making the short hop to Doha to enjoy tournament games in Qatar. For company president and CEO Adel Mardini, such activity is a minor cog in what has now become a global business.
Operating 37 FBOs and 50 locations worldwide, this year Jetex opened FBOs at Singapore Seletar Airport (WSSL) and London Biggin Hill Airport (EGKB). In May, Jetex signed an agreement with Cyprus-headquartered Avia Solutions Group to operate the FBO at Hangar 510 at EGKB. This year also saw a ramp-up of operations in Singapore, where Jetex signed an agreement to provide FBO services in collaboration with Bombardier.
Jetex expects to be operating and managing 50 FBOs by the end of 2024—a plan that was only temporarily constrained by the coronavirus pandemic. Only the U.S. lies outside Jetex’s grand plan; instead, it will limit its goals to trip planning in the U.S.
Mardini long ago realized that more than a dash of Middle East hospitality would make for a world-beating formula, with hub Dubai at its center. As a result, Jetex claimed 5,000 movements in Dubai in the first half of 2022. “That is not as good as last year when the airport had 15,000 movements, of which we had 11,000,” he said. “That’s almost 80 percent. Don’t forget, we are five FBO operators at OMDW. Of the five, we did 11,000 movements. I don’t know what the others did.”
Although official statistics are hard to come by, Jetex claims the lion’s share of business at OMDW in competition with Jet Aviation and Falcon Aviation, which also operate and manage facilities at the shared VIP Terminal, and DC Aviation-Al Futtaim and ExecuJet, which both run separate facilities. Construction on ExecuJet’s alternative FBO-MRO is expected to be completed early next year.
“I have a lot of business,” Mardini said. “In my industry, we are a leader. We are one of the top five or six global FBO operators. Alongside Signature, Atlantic, and Jet Aviation, we are one of the top five in the world. We have seen 100 percent growth in profits this year, compared to last year.
“What we have is different. The yardstick we use to measure this is expansion. We are the only FBO operator in the world providing all services under one roof: fueling, FBO, trip planning, concierge, and charter.”
Mardini sees Dubai's business increasing in the future. He believes that once Emirates returns to full operations at Dubai International Airport (OMDB), things will change. “That’s when slot restrictions will increase again,” he said. “The split between OMDW and OMDB is still around 70 percent in favor of OMDW. I would love it to go to 90 percent. OMDB is like Heathrow—a commercial airport. It depends on the client.”
As a MEBAA board member, Jetex is the official show FBO service provider at the MEBAA Show this week. “Our location at OMDW is very good for VIP clientele. Given the remote location here, they don’t get stuck in traffic. Most of our clients are located in Jumeirah, Dubai Hills, or Emirates Hills. They are close to this location.”
Mardini is also eyeing the urban air mobility (UAM) market, which he said is projected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2020 to $9.1 billion by 2030. At EBACE in May, Jetex and eVTOL pioneer Volocopter signed what Jetex called a “milestone strategic partnership agreement to define a safe and sustainable model of UAM.”
Miami, Singapore, and Paris are the priority markets for the Volocopter deal. “Our understanding is that the infrastructure will be designed by them and built and managed by us,” he said. “The plan is to have a Volocopter landing pad right here at the VIP Terminal at OMDW.”
Jetex's reseller partnership with Honda Aircraft saw deals for three HondaJets this year. “Our deal with Turkey’s Mavi Air was not the first deal we did—which we did not announce—but the second. We did a good deal. We cannot say who the first customer was. It was in the Middle East, which is our region. We’ve done two for Mavi, plus another. We are happy with this achievement,” said Mardini.
In addition to the London Biggin Hill Airport FBO, Mardini is eyeing possible options at Luton and Stansted. He believes the importance of Paris Le Bourget will only increase as the Covid effect fully washes out of the global system. “I hope there will be no more Covid problems, and then we’ll start moving,” he said. “We did more than 10,000 movements in Paris in the first six months of the year. We’ll break the record this year in Paris—our expectation is 18,000 flights.”