What are your key predictions for the business aviation market in the region in terms of growth, challenges, and opportunities?
I think we’re seeing a period of great growth, the sustainability of which is yet to be seen. Challenges right now are many, leftover pandemic entry restrictions for some destinations, political unrest, fuel prices, etc. The bottom line is that operators are consistently demanding more and more efficiency for their operations – this is a challenge and an opportunity. We make it our priority to deliver increased efficiency time and time and in doing so reinforce the loyalty of our partners and that of our suppliers. There are also great opportunities in supporting top-level international movements to large geo-political and sporting events such as the WEF, G8, and G20, and, of course, the upcoming World Cup. This type of comprehensive support is a key aspect of our business as it demands huge expertise and experience in all aspects of trip support – from flight planning to VIP supervision, security and risk mitigation, ground transport and accommodation provision. Our ground presence and multilingual team of regional experts, flight dispatchers, Ops experts, and VIP Supervisors combine to ensure every aspect of our clients’ missions goes to plan. These are great opportunities for us to deliver an unrivalled operating experience and optimal performance and efficiency.
What makes the Middle East (and North Africa) an important growth market for your business?
The positioning of UAS’ Middle Eastern hub in the UAE was not an accident, but a strategy. The UAE’s pioneering spirit and commitment to innovation matches our own. And of course, the Middle East is arguably the most interesting and dynamic market for business aviation in the world. During the pandemic, we experienced growth in our business, and that began within this region, and it continues to be the market with our highest penetration rate. With regards to MENA generally, the growing population and affluence of North Africa makes it a prime market for future growth; more and more people will be opting for private aviation over commercial there in the coming years. And our investment in our global network means we’re ready to support them.
Where do you see opportunities in the industry - Is there a geographical region or industry sector or new tech that you are exploring?
We are already well established in the Middle East, Africa, Mainland China, Europe, and the US, but we don’t plan on stopping there. Our next focus will be to expand our presence into South America and this is already in progress. And we will make an impact doing what we do best: providing the highest standard of trip support and supervision available on the market today. Our global ground presence and the wealth of regional experience and expertise it gives us is one of the distinct advantages we hold over all our competitors. More broadly, industry opportunities lie in delivering increased value to our clients, and this means increased efficiency. This is operators’ number one priority. The air charter and cargo markets are looking particularly promising going forward and, as always, pandemic, political unrest, or otherwise, clients continue to demand the efficiency, speed, and safety that business aviation provides. So, we’ll be focusing on continuing the work we do and improving our offering at every step going forward.
Sustainability seems to be the hot topic of the industry this year. How is balancing between meeting your customers needs and their desire for sustainable options impacting your business?
We are passionate about finding sustainable ways of doing business and our clients are always happy when we can present more sustainable options them. We are looking at ways to go beyond this and to actively incentivise sustainable options to give our clients a further push towards them.
What technologies do you predict will impact the business aviation industry most in the next five years?
Technologies will be across the board, as long as they are designed to deliver optimal efficiency, they will have a great impact. For example, the new Boeing 77X that is being tested and showcased is more fuel efficient. And with fuel prices spiking, whatever aviation can do to improve efficiency will be well received by all aviation businesses.
What are you looking forward to the most at this years MEBAA Show? Who are you looking to meet and will you be launching anything at the Show?
The MEBAA Show is always a great occasion for all at UAS, both in terms of its significance as an industry event and as a wonderful opportunity to network with our regional partners and friends. I think MEBAA Show 2022 will have an extra layer of significance as it follows a period of tremendous global upheaval and the challenges the pandemic period brought for business aviation. As a MEBAA Board Member, I see first-hand the commitment and drive of the organization to do whatever it can to advance the interests of the industry in the region. I anticipate some fascinating discussions on operational issues and also about how to better develop shared strategies for industry advocacy going forward. The pandemic taught us how invaluable business aviation is and how powerful it can be at times where other forms of transport are totally restricted. This is something we must capitalise on and never fail to emphasize going forward.
Lastly, what are UAS International Trip Support’s plans ahead in the region?
UAS is currently focussed on anticipating the requirements of the regional industry and extending our product portfolio to address specific operational needs. We’re also continuing to innovate and invest in the development of game-changing aviation technology that increases efficiency and overcomes operator pain points. The creation of new strategic partnerships and collaborations that will benefit the region and those operating within it is something we’re always striving for.