Middle East business aviation sector expected to grow 9% this year, according to MEBAA founding and executive chairman Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi
Dubai-headquartered private aviation firm Jetex Flight Support expects the number of private aircraft movements it handles to surge by 40 percent during Expo 2020 Dubai and to remain elevated in the years after, according to CEO Adel Mardini.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Mardini said that the firm – which has its flagship fixed base operator [FBO] at Dubai World Central – expects to handle approximately 1,000 additional flights once Expo starts, up from an average of 2,500 it sees yearly at its Dubai FBO.
Mardini added that he believes the number of private flights coming and going from Dubai will remain elevated after Expo is over.
“This will have a big effect on our business…the people will keep coming. The investments that the UAE is making here are not for six months,” he said. “They will show people what they can do and how they can grow their businesses.”
“We’re pretty sure that the successful Expo will reflect in our business’ growth,” Mardini added.
In a separate interview, Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, the founding and executive chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) said he also expects the entire UAE and regional business aviation sector to benefit from Expo, as well as the continued expansion of Dubai World Central.
“There will be a lot of business people coming. We expect [business jet movements] to the UAE to increase, not only to Dubai, but Sharjah and Abu Dhabi as well, as well as other nearby parts of the region,” he added. “We will heavily promote business aviation during Expo, with the UAE as a main hub for the region.”
This year, Alnaqbi said that MEBAA expects the Middle East and North Africa’s business aviation sector to record growth of approximately 9 percent, slightly lower than previous forecasts.
According to Alnaqbi, earlier forecasts had anticipated the growth to be slightly higher, but that ongoing political challenges and a “shaky” Saudi business aviation market negatively affected the market.
“While we thought it would be in the [higher] double digits earlier – which it still might be – it’s actually [been steady] around 10 or 11 percent. We expect to close this year at 9 percent,” he said.
“We still have issues. Most countries have some issues, politically, with war and other stuff that drags away the attention of business aviation,” he added. “It’s only logical, but it’s still steady, and we look forward to a bright future.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.