Jetex plans Middle East & African network

A Dubai-based start-up is aiming to help drive up the use of business jets and charter services across the region and in Africa. Jetex Flight Support has already brought a fleet of aircraft into Dubai, and it is planning to open an FBO in the Gulf, but its main focus is on developing its presence in Africa.
Jetex plans Middle East & African network
By Laura M. Barnes
Thu 13 Oct 2005 04:00 AM

A Dubai-based start-up is aiming to help drive up the use of business jets and charter services across the region and in Africa. Jetex Flight Support has already brought a fleet of aircraft into Dubai, and it is planning to open an FBO in the Gulf, but its main focus is on developing its presence in Africa.

The company, which launched operations over the summer, is a joint venture between Adel Mardini, who has been named as Jetex’s CEO, and Jetline Air of Romania. It offers a range of flight services, such as arranging clearances, on-credit groundhandling and re-fuelling around the world, and it also operates six aircraft that were previously owned by Jetline. “We offer a broad spectrum of services,” said Mardini. “And, our customers range from private, corporate, government officials and even some cargo companies. Because of this [variety], we offer not only a range of services, but a range of aircraft too,” he added.

Jetex’s fleet currently comprises a Falcon 900, a DC 8-62, a Boeing 727 and two BAC1-11s, which means that the company can offer both transatlantic, as well as regional flights. “All of the aircraft in our fleet are owned by Jetex and are being used for VIP operations,” explained Mardini.

“With these type of planes, customers are able to fly long haul and because of this we are seeing a lot of our clients coming from the USA, Europe and Russia. At the moment, around 70-80% of our customer base are Europeans and Americans, but we also have customers from the Middle East, including NetJets,” he added.

Jetex is running its operations from Dubai, and it plans to move into the Dubai Airport Free Zone. However, for now, its aircraft are based in Romania, where Jetline has a maintenance facility, and they are flying on a Romanian AOC. The company is aiming to secure an AOC in the UAE, however, and it eventually plans to base two aircraft in Dubai. “Now that the summer is over we hope to get the AOC quite soon,” said Mardini.

“Dubai is an important market for us as it is the main focus for business in the region. It is also a growing city and it has an amazing aviation market, especially with the plans for the Jebel Ali Airport City,” he continued.

Jetex is also planning to open its own FBO somewhere in the Gulf region. It is yet to finalise the location for the facility, however, as it is still in discussions with local governments and aviation authorities. Mardini is hopeful though that the company will be able to announce the location of the FBO at next month’s Dubai air show. “For us, the near future is all about the opening of the new facility we have planned, then we will begin to look at other operations,” he said.

Alongside its Gulf operations, Jetex is also looking to develop a strong presence in the African market, which will help it win business there as well as easing the process of arranging permits for foreign customers. “We are very strong in Africa,” said Mardini. “We only need three hours for clearances.”

Jetex, which also helps customers in terms of security, has secured this position by opening offices in Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Niamy, Dakar and Bamako. It also plans to open another three offices in Africa by the end of the year. “The African market is still quite small, so we want to be in there from the beginning, building up a strong client base, which is difficult to do unless you have people on the ground there,” Mardini explained.

“Because we have offices in Africa and talk regularly to local customers, we are able to get permits and clearance for the region in no time at all. We have invested a lot of money in Africa so we are really trying to make this work, as well as opening up more offices across the rest of the continent,” he added.

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