Emirates Executive, the private-aviation arm of Emirates Airline, will decide this year about buying a second aircraft, depending on whether it meets its target to increase its operations by 20 per cent.
The executive jet unit has a more low-key approach when it comes to fleet growth, unlike its parent, which has fast expanded its fleet.
“The year 2015 is a critical for us to determine — based on the demand — whether we will require a second aircraft to enter our fleet,” said Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president of planning, aeropolitical and industry affairs.
The business is a relatively new area for the group. Currently Emirates Executive operates an Airbus 319 with an eight-hour range. The aircraft features a seating area, the Majlis, and another 10 seats — which means it can accommodate 19 passengers on a flight.
Mr Kazim said in terms of the nature of their clients, Emirates receives demand from royalty, presidential delegations and corporate businesses. In terms of nationalities, the majority of their clientele come from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Africa and India.
“We have quite a mix of nationalities. But the bulk majority of business is from the [Arabian] Gulf, especially [from] royal families,” he said.
Annually, Emirates Executive logs about 450 hours of operations, and if it lifts its number of hours to between 550 and 600 it probably will buy another aircraft, it said.
“If we manage to achieve a range of 20 to 25 per cent growth in the next financial year, then I think we will be in good shape to consider a second aircraft,” said Mr Kazim.
A study by Private Jet Charter, a business jet rental company in the UAE, showed that Gulf business travellers spend up to twice as long flying on private jets as their counterparts in Europe.
The study revealed UAE business travellers using private jet services spend an average of 100 to 150 hours each year on the aircraft, while their Saudi counterparts flew for more than 200 hours annually.
“We are a commercial airline at the end of the day,” said Mr Kazim.
“We need to make decisions with a commercial mindset. If the demand remains strong, we will definitely make this call [to buy a second aircraft].”