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Sun 24 Jan 2010 04:00 AM

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Weathering the downturn

ExecuJet managing director Mike Berry explains the company's plans for 2010.

Weathering the downturn
Mike Berry, managing director, ExecuJet.

ExecuJet managing director Mike Berry explains the company's plans for 2010.

Did ExecuJet manage to grow as a business throughout 2009, despite the downturn?

During the downturn it was reported that on a global basis most business activity was down by about 30%. At ExecuJet Middle East we experienced a drop in demand which was expected. It was always going to be difficult to meet the business plan for 2009, yet alone grow the business. That said, ExecuJet certainly held its own until the advent of summer and Ramadan, before reporting moderate improvements through the fourth quarter of last year.

What significant projects does the business have scheduled for 2010?

For 2010, ExecuJet Middle East will be continuing with the development of the business plan, which is in line with the opening of the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central. The project plans to cater for the expected growth of both the aviation industry as well as ExecuJet service solutions across the region. The new facility will allow us to offer a wider range of options for our clients and provide us with the opportunity to significantly expand on the amount of managed aircraft under the Middle East fleet.

Would you consider adopting other revenue streams in order to boost revenue during the downturn?

ExecuJet believes in the current business model, offering a comprehensive service proposition encompassing aircraft sales, management, charter, maintenance and FBO passenger processing. We believe that part of the success in weathering the downturn has been as a result of the diversified revenue streams ExecuJet operates already.

Do you plan to add to the company's fleet of aircraft in 2010?

ExecuJet remains vigilant to grow the charter fleet as the business activity picks up, ensuring that we have a balanced solution for our customers. In addition we will be fully accredited/compliant with ISBAO and thus provide the management platform for all privately managed aircraft within the region requiring a solution under such amendments.

Do you think the industry was harder hit by the financial crisis than originally thought?

A number of reports released early in 2009 reflected sentiment that this region would not be as badly affected, however I believe there is now general consensus that the aviation sector throughout the region has felt the impact to various degrees, with overall results showing business levels lower than most were expecting. As a company we prepared ourselves for a hard year which has now left us in a strong position.

So you see 2010 being a better year for the private jet business in the Middle East?

We believe that whilst the general aviation sector enters the historically busy period through to the end of the first quarter of 2010, the recovery which is expected to reflect marginal growth over 2009 is going to be a difficult process. But with positive signs of recovery already, we are all hoping for a good start to 2010.

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