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Sat 10 Dec 2011 01:17 PM

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ExecuJet sees Middle East growth up 10-15%

Zurich-based aviation firm says regional growth is slow but increasing

ExecuJet sees Middle East growth up 10-15%
ExecuJet expects the Middle East to be among its biggest markets

ExecuJet
Aviation Group, the Zurich-based firm that offers corporate aviation services
including private jets, expects to see a 10-15 percent increase in its Middle
East arm annually, its CEO told Arabian Business.

The firm
said growth across the Middle East is slow but increasing while demand for its
new financing programme is strongest in the region, said Niall Olver.

“I think
we’ll keep growing at 10-15 percent. It’s growing pretty slowly at the moment
but it is growing. In 2009, we saw quite a big set-back in the Middle East on
aircraft management particularly [due] or a number of customers going insolvent
or taking the aircraft under management but since then it’s actually going
quite well,” he said.

“The
Middle East is very important to our overall business. Our European business is
still the biggest but the Middle East is definitely our second biggest hub in
the world,” he added.

Private
jets and business travel was hit hard by the global economic downturn, as
companies looked to curb their corporate travel budgets. Several private jet
firms have introduced cheaper rates or introduced fractional ownership, which
allows corporations to spread the cost of owning a private plan in a bid to
boost revenues.

US-based
Flexjet in November said its fractional ownership business had increased 120
percent year-over-year as of August.

French
plane maker Airbus last month said it had booked an order from the VIP charter
airline, Comlux, for an Airbus ACJ321 corporate jet. The firm also said
UAE-based Gama Aviation, a business aviation charter and management company,
took delivery of an Airbus ACJ318 in October.

ExecuJet
in November launched a turnkey package that includes aircraft financing
options. The firm said it had seen keen interest from the Middle East and
expected the region to be its biggest market.

“I think
the Middle East is going to be the leading bulk of that….in terms of take-up.
Time will tell where the volumes are but I think in take-up we are seeing
immediately now that most of the interest is coming from the Middle East,” said
Olver.

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