We speak with Mike Berry, Vice President ExecuJet Middle East and Executive Vice President Aviation Services Luxaviation Group, and Nick Weber, Maintenance Director at ExecuJet Middle East, about the development of the business aviation industry in the Middle East and how it is being impacted by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs).
Dubai’s private aviation environment has undergone much development in recent years, particularly in Dubai South where services have been progressively opening up. At ExecuJet, a brand new $35m state-of-the-art facility is soon to be constructed with a special focus on offering exceptionally private, discreet and personalised facilities. But what’s driving this investment in infrastructure? When comparing business aviation in the Middle
East to that in the US and Europe, the market just hasn’t shown the same upsurge in activity. Most regions undergo development due to consistent spikes in flight movements and requests, but this is not necessarily the case in the Middle East.
However, there can be no denying that investment in the region by major business aviation companies such as ExecuJet demonstrates confidence in the market. The Middle East remains one of the world’s wealthiest areas and attracts business people from all over the world. So, can we attribute this market confidence to wealth, and those that have earned it?
The rise of UHNWIs in the Middle East
The rate of wealth creation worldwide is higher than ever, and the UAE is no exception. It is one of the fastest-growing markets for new wealth in the world. It can therefore be expected that levels of activity will rise for business aviation operators in the region. However, the Middle East is still a maturing market for business aviation. There is a heavy reliance on the rising population of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs), which has the potential to limit activity.
“In the Middle East, wealth is around every corner,” says Mike Berry, Executive Vice President Aviation Services Luxaviation Group and Vice President of ExecuJet Middle East. Berry has worked in the region since 2002, when he joined ExecuJet as a financial director.
“Ownership of aircraft is predominantly VVIP, UHNW individuals,” says Berry. “In 2007 and 2008, there was the start of a shift from the
single owner to the use of aircraft by corporations as a business tool. Yet there has been no significant recovery in this corporate market since the economic downturn of 2008 – it is still vastly a single owner market.”
There are several effects that individual owners can have on a market. These include customer expectations impacting service costs; market fluctuations being linked to social, political and diplomatic events; and specific types of aircraft being favoured in the region.
Image & content courtesy of Execujet
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