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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Despite predictions of global economic choppy waters, private charter operator Royal Jet remains buoyant that its doubling in size reflects the success of its business model.
Speaking to ABTN, the company”s president and CEO Shane O”Hare said: ”Our view is that yes, it [economy] may slow a little, but not dramatically. Our research points to a 40% annual increase in the Middle East”s business aviations sector for the coming five years with Saudi Arabia and the UAE driving momentum.
”CIS countries are doing well, and Asia is booming ” there”s a lot of business being done between China and the Middle East, but also between China and northern African countries, with many private jet operations between the two as Chinese companies invest there.”
Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet started five years ago with a single jet, and is now the Middle East”s charter market leader with a 16% share. Operating a fleet of 12 aircraft, including five Boeing Business Jets ” it is the world”s largest single operator of this type - it now aims to achieve turnover of $500m (”250m) in its next half-decade, but O”Hare told ABTN it was not about to hit a fall-off in demand.
”We”re seeing 30% growth year-on-year, and this is a new business where we”re still developing contacts and new markets, so there are still a number of segments we haven”t even got to yet. It might taper off in a few years, but even if it does ” to 20%, or 15% - it”s still going to be very strong for at least the next five to eight years.”
He said private jet hire was seen as being feasible now, with companies and individuals realising that flying ”exactly where they want to go” in their own private aircraft ”frequently adds up to being a lot cheaper” than travelling to big hubs on scheduled flights.
Business-only carriers ” such as Silverjet and Eos ” were not competition as ”their model is totally different”, he said.
”It”s opposition to the commercial airlines, who will clean them up anyway in the next 12 to 18 months. Lufthansa are doing it now, Swiss, KLM, BA is starting next year from City, so I think it will be increasingly difficult for the guys who started it up to be successful.
”Their model is totally different [to ours]. The key with us is that we”re bespoke ” I can go when I want to go. With those single class airlines, they”re still scheduled. Some of them do operate into and out of VIP terminals, that”s the only thing in common.
”Our main competitors in the Middle East are smaller than us by quite a long way, but there are a number of new players coming onto the scene - some local investors and others - so we”re not complacent.”
O”Hare said development of its fleet is likely to centre on large and medium-size commercial aircraft.