A newly founded UAE-based specialist air charter solutions provider claimed the Russian market is seeing a surge in demand for executive travel.
“The Russian market is witnessing a surge in demand for executive aircraft travel; these trips are taken by men/women in their 40s-50s, for either leisure or business purposes,” Claudio Lietaert, partner and managing director of Global Jet Centre, told Aficionado.
Global Jet Centre was founded in November 2013 at the Dubai World Central, Al Maktoum International Airport, with a customer base including high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), corporate entities (VIP), government entities – such as the military – and the oil and gas industry for large-scale employee movements.
It operates independently, offering a wide range of services, including business, leisure and group travelling or medical evacuation.
To cater for high-end customers, such as those coming in from Russia, Global Jet Centre offers flights, which can be requested in either VIP configuration or standard configuration.
“An Airbus 319, which is in service with a commercial airline, would have a capacity to carry approximately 160 passengers. The same aircraft, fitted with a VIP configuration, would carry roughly 19 VIP’s,” says Lietaert.
He added that a VIP aircraft could boast a full-fledged bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and shower.
“Passengers willing to fly directly to a not-so-well-connected holiday destination might also be enticed to charter an aircraft for that specific purpose,” Lietaert notes, giving Dubai-Hurghada or Doha-Bodrum as examples of badly connected flights.
Over the course of 2014, Global Jet Centre’s operations included transporting relief aid and staff when the Ebola epidemic broke out in West Africa, as well as urgent evacuations of some governments’ nationals from troubled countries such as Libya and Egypt. “Depending on how those situations develop, we are most likely to see more business coming our way,” Lietaert says.
However, he noted that the charter market has been picking up gradually over the course of the past 12 months, and “signs of continuation are clearly there for us as requests and bookings are trickling in for January/February 2015 already,” he confirms.
According to the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), the business aviation in the MENA region will grow to $1.3 billion by 2020. In addition, forecasts reveal that the region is expected to triple the number of jets from the current 500 registered aircraft to1,375 by 2020.