What are your key predictions for the business aviation market in the region in terms of growth, challenges, and opportunities?
There is currently very strong interest in business aviation and the regional market for business aviation services and sustained demand for new and pre-owned business jets, and charter services. As the global economy continues to recover - although with some serious international headwinds - we expect the region to continue to grow and for business aviation to flourish here, helped by the strong business and tourism opportunities and major global sporting events hosted in the region.
What makes the Middle East an important growth market for your business?
It’s our ability to draw together all the strands of private aviation – sales, management, operations, and charter – that enables the Empire Aviation team to make private aviation a great experience for owners and charter guests. Our location and specifically our base in Dubai is central to our success in delivering a one stop shop service to our aircraft owners and charter clients. This is because Dubai and the UAE is at the heart of a major regional aviation sector which has also driven regional economic growth. The region offers an outstanding aviation regulatory environment, world class aviation infrastructure, with the talent, professional services and technical support that enable us to deliver services across the Middle East and other fast developing regions for business aviation, from India to Africa and Asia. Our aircraft owners and charter clients have access to truly world class facilities that compare very favourably with the best in the world.
Where do you see opportunities in the industry - Is there a geographical region that you are exploring?
Empire Aviation operates one of the Middle East’s largest managed fleets of business jets, with aircraft based in global locations. The company operates in the key regions for private aviation, covering the USA, Europe, India, Africa and Indonesia, in addition to the Middle East. The team comprises 130 aviation specialists (the majority are based at the Dubai headquarters) across the globe with branch offices located in India and San Marino, and aircraft sales representatives based in the US. Today, Empire Aviation holds AOCs (Air Operator Certificates) in the UAE and San Marino, and a partner NSOP in India. Empire Aviation is very optimistic about the prospects for the business aviation market. Demand for private aviation services is growing and we have taken business jets under management operating out of Cairo, Egypt, and Jakarta, Indonesia.
We are always looking to innovate and improve our services and operations and we are also looking at expanding our market presence, products and service offering. For example, there’s growing interest in the long-term leasing of charter aircraft for 2-3 months and we are seeing higher utilisation of our managed aircraft on charter. We have also launched a ‘Luxury Partner’ programme combining the unique benefits of private jet travel with award-winning luxury travel partners, in response to the growing demand from affluent leisure travellers for highly personalised private travel services.
What technologies do you predict will impact the business aviation industry most in the next five years?
Technology is disrupting many industries but aviation is a people business and Empire Aviation’s aircraft management service has been built on close personal working relationships with owners to develop a high degree of personal trust, openness and transparency. The team builds this trust and manages expectations by looking after every operational and maintenance detail of their aircraft. This includes the negotiation of all contract services with supplier companies and tracking all costs to ensure owners are receiving the best deals with open books at all times.
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?
Business aviation is all about people and so we are looking forward to meeting our customers, partners and friends across the industry, face to face. We will also showcase our partnership with Gulfstream as the authorized International Sales Representative (ISR) for Gulfstream business aircraft sales activities in India. Empire Aviation is now responsible for promoting and supporting Gulfstream with customers and prospects throughout India.
What are Empire Aviation Group’s plans ahead in the region?
We continue to see opportunities across all our business segments and we have added new managed aircraft in in Egypt, Indonesia, and West Africa where we are active. In India, more companies are expanding their operations domestically and internationally and we believe we can help owners with professional aircraft management services, through our local partners. India is also a significant part of our charter business and there's a growing interest in aircraft acquisition - we are working on several transactions for aircraft to join our managed fleet and we are now working with Gulfstream in India. We believe the future for the sector looks very positive across the Middle East as the market evolves and develops quickly and we are well positioned to support business aviation in the region and beyond, from our base in Dubai.
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