Saudi Arabia host to largest fleet of private jets in Gulf

June 30--RIYADH -- With a total of 164 business jets, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has 35 percent of all the registered planes in the Middle East, it was disclosed in a recent report on business aviation in Saudi Arabia presented at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference (MEBAC) in Riyadh by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) and WINGX.

At least 45 of the fleet have been added since the year 2000.

The insights highlighted flight patterns, purchase preferences and charter trends from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam King Fahd Airports, which all contributed to 29,869 aircraft movements in 2013.

Bombardier, Airbus and Embraer, the report says, had sold the most jet engine aircrafts since the year 2000. However, Boeing still maintains the strongest presence with 38 jets registered across 10 countries in the Middle East.

Within the Saudi Arabian charter market the results are very different with the Gulfstream V, Hawker Beechcraft 700-800 and the Bombardier Global Express being the most popular choice amongst customers, the majority of whom are flying to Le Bourget, Geneva, and Istanbul.

Speaking on the side-lines of MEBAC Riyadh, Ali Al Naqbi, MEBAA's founding chairman, said: "In order for the association to lobby and promote business aviation amongst local officialdom in Saudi Arabia, we must have reliable data that illustrates its contribution to the aviation economy. Our partnership with WINGX has provided us with the necessary intelligence and emphasized the need for CAA support that will help sustain such impressive growth in the market."

Richard Koe, managing director of WINGX, said: "Having the largest installed fleet of business jets in the Middle East points to the importance for MROs and operators to be based in Saudi Arabia. Likewise the average age for aircraft in Saudi Arabia is 13.5 years and therefore there is also a tremendous opportunity for OEMs to tap into the 12% year on year increase that MEBAA is forecasting for business aviation in Saudi Arabia."

At MEBAC Riyadh, Ali Al Naqbi also revealed Honeywell data from a recent report especially prepared for MEBAC Riyadh revealing some of the latest insights for the business aviation market in the MENA region. The report revealed that the MENA region today accounts for percent of the entire global fleet.

It also indicated that this market share is expected to remain stable across the region for the near term, due to operator purchasing plans. The Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association ("MEBAA") is the official representative of the business aviation industry in the Middle East and North Africa ("MENA") region and is a member of the International Business Aviation Council ("IBAC").

MEBAA is a non-profit association established in 2006 with the mission to provide a platform for members of the business aviation industry in the MENA region to gather, understand and communicate the needs and benefits of the industry. As part of its current growth strategy, MEBAA seeks to implement operational safety and efficiency by providing best in-practice training, lectures and conferences, establishing codes of conduct, and providing industry data.

Today, MEBAA represents over 220 companies within the MENA region and provides a number of products and services to its members, including the MAIS (MEBAA Aviation Insurance Scheme) insurance scheme for operators. In addition to various networking events, MEBAA hosts the MEBA Show, which ranks as the third largest business aviation show in the world.

Copyright 2014 - Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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