Use of corporate jets is making a comeback globally and more particularly in the Middle East, a trend that is different from the one prevailing five years ago when most corporations had curtailed such expenditure due to the global financial crisis, says Private Jet Charter (PJC), a private jet charter consultant with offices in London, Nice, Moscow, Florida, Dubai and Jeddah. It said nearly 10 % of CEOs in the Arab world use private jets for leisure travel, compared to 30% in the United States, which demonstrates the high potential of the industry in the near future. The trend among Arab CEOs to opt for private jets for vacations is expected to pick up further momentum, driven by the growing awareness of the benefits offered by private jets in terms of convenience, luxury, comfort, customization and costs when flying in a group.
PJC attributed the higher international use of private jet in business to the fact that most CEOs in Europe or United States are in charge of larger geographical areas than CEOs of the Middle East. “This trend is gaining greater momentum in the Middle East because of the upgraded civil aviation infrastructure with improved services for private jets,” said Ross Kelly, Managing Director for Middle East, PJC. “We expect private jet travel to gain acceleration over the next five years as a result of an economic rebound in the region and greater interconnectivity amongst GCC countries.”
A review of Federal Aviation Administration flight records revealed that dozens of jets operated by publicly-traded corporations made over 30 per cent of their trips to or from resort destinations. “Some CEOs in other parts of the world use private planes like personal taxis and this trend is coming to the Middle East in a dramatic fashion,” Kelly said. “In the Middle East, nearly 10 per cent of trips of CEOs are personal, while the rest are of business nature,” says Kelly. He added: “We see huge potential for the private jet industry in the Middle East, as it is increasingly becoming a vibrant destination for tourism and investment. High net worth individuals who fall in this category need to devise a more prudent travel strategy involving the use of private jets, instead of commercial flights.”
As far as safety is concerned, PJC said that since 2005 there have been no fatal accidents in the U.S. involving company-owned business jets flown by professional pilots, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a Frederick, Maryland-based trade group.