Interview: Royal Jet president and CEO Shane O'Hare

The Abu Dhabi-based luxury operator on future growth plans in the region
Shane O’Hare, president and CEO of Royal Jet.

Shane O’Hare, president and CEO of Royal Jet.

“We are the top,” Shane O’Hare, president and CEO of Royal Jet, says as he sits alongside the company’s $12m newly-refurbished Boeing Business Jet. “Nobody can deliver the service, luxury, and safety standards to the level that Royal Jet does, and I can guarantee that,” he says confidently.

The company may claim to have risen to the pinnacle of the luxury charter scene, but Royal Jet started with just one aircraft 10 years ago.

The fleet now has nine aircrafts in operation - including six Boeing Business Jets - which makes them the largest operator in the world of this aircraft type by the US manufacturer, with goals to expand their fleet to a total of 12 aircrafts.

“They are the largest aircraft type in the world. That’s helped make us famous… In terms of service delivery, service excellence, understanding of the customer base and how to do things, there’s nobody that does it better than us. I know this may sound arrogant, but I think that you will find that most of our competitors and most of the industry would agree with me,” O’Hare states.

Royal Jet’s core business is the charter business, which represents about 80 percent of their target revenue. They also have a robust VIP fixed-base operator (FBO) business, with a VIP terminal in Abu Dhabi and a newly opened base at Seychelles, which is the only fully fledged FBO in the Indian Ocean.

In addition, the company launched a luxury vacation service this year, in partnership with UAE national carrier Etihad Airways and intends to grow it strongly this year.

An additional 22 percent of their charter business currently comes from medivac operations, where they carry, on average, one patient daily to Europe or the United States.

“From zero base, we’ve become the largest private jet company in the Middle East in ten short years. If you look at the government and the ruling family, we would probably hold about 60 to 70percent of that market. We hold 80 percent of the Medivac operations in the UAE. Corporate is probably somewhere around 11 to 12 percent,” says O’Hare.

After completing a year of flying to over 320 airports in 135 countries through an estimated 2,500 flights, the company announced that it will completely renew its fleet by the year 2020, which will reach a total value of $700 million at current list prices. Meanwhile, it will implement the $12 million refurbishment on all its Boeing Business Jets which includes a brand new livery.

With an average growth in revenue of seven percent year-on-year since its inception, Royal Jet is certainly showing no signs of slowing down. “Our chairman, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, is absolutely focused on ensuring that Royal Jet maintains the highest standards. So that’s what we’ve done and will continue to do. We’ve been very successful, and that’s what differentiates us,” O’Hare states.

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