Soaring fuel prices are in no way restricting global jet sales due to increasing demand from Middle East customers, according to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, Dubai City of Aviation Corporation - Dubai World Central, Government of Dubai.
Dubai World Central (DWC), the 140 square kilometre urban aviation, multi-phased development in Dubai, will be speaking to several key business jet manufacturers at the 46th edition of Farnborough International Airshow between 14-20 July.
“The Middle East business aviation market is expected to reach US$800 million by 2012,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “The movement of small business planes in the Middle East is growing by 18% a year compared with the global average of 10%. This in turn is boosting global sales despite increasing fuel prices and the US credit crisis which has seen fewer Americans placing orders for private jets last year.”
Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai World Central, said, “The Middle East has a huge market for the business jet industry. Its share of the overall aviation market in the region is expected to double to 40% and with Dubai World Central building the region’s largest executive jet terminal with an eventual handling capacity of 100,000 flight movements annually, the region will have unrestrained capacity for business aviation flights.”
According to industry watchdogs, manufacturers expect to sell over 1,250 jets this year as compared to 1,138 in 2007. Currently, there are 22 private jet operators in the Middle East.
The US$1.36 billion DWC Aviation City, a strategically important aviation project within DWC, which will be home to DWC’s executive jet terminal and the world’s largest MRO centre, has already begun attracting many of these operators to establish their base at the adjacent DWC-Al Maktoum International Airport, set to be the world’s largest.
“Dubai has seen a 30% increase in executive flights in the last three years. Last year saw nearly 9,000 executive jet movements at Dubai International Airport,” explained Abdulla Al Qurashi, CEO of DWC Aviation City. “DWC Aviation City’s facilities and Al Maktoum International’s capacity is providing an impetus to the aviation industry - including business jet owners - to look at Dubai World Central as home. The current expansion of private aircraft fleet is expected to create a secondary market and demand for after-sales services and spare parts. This is where our project steps in as a one-stop shop for all business aviation needs.”
The latest player into DWC Aviation City is XJet World - an exclusive US-based private aviation service provider who are setting up a fixed base operations (FBO) facility for business and private aircraft.
Construction on DWC Aviation City has already commenced, with start of operations planned for 2009. Al Maktoum International Airport goes live with initial operations by end-2008 and has been designed to handle in excess of 120-150 million passengers and 12 million tons of cargo annually. Infrastructure costs for Dubai World Central currently stand at US$ 33 billion.