Dubai-based Empire Aviation Group is taking advantage of burgeoning business in the Gulf region. Its charter bookings have risen 12 per cent over the last year and it is said to operate one of the largest managed fleets of business jets in the Middle East, with around 20 jets under management at any one time. Demand has been boosted due to competitive rates which are moving further towards the scale of commercial airlines.
Leisure travel to locations such as the Maldives and Seychelles outside of the peak summer months has been another reason for increased traffic, while top corporate charter destinations include London, Paris, Hong Kong and Mumbai. Per seat rates compare favourably with first class seats on commercial flights.
EAG says it tailors each mission to the specific needs of the corporate executive, management team or business owner it is flying. The aircraft type, routing and destin-ations, onboard and ground services all provide challenges, and corporate roadshows are often requested, where individuals or management teams fly around the region on multiple stopovers, following an intensive travel itinerary. In this case, charter provides flexibility and convenience and it is often the only viable option.
Paras Dhamecha, executive director, says: “Business jet charter declined in the region during the global economic downturn but is now returning strongly. The scale and diversity of our managed fleet – which includes business jets from all the major manufacturers – provides a range of aircraft options for business and leisure charter clients.
“Charter rates are very competitive compared to first class commercial and the benefits are incomparable.”
EAG quotes charter rates of around $2,000 per seat for flights within the Gulf region and around $10,000 for return flights to Europe, although these clearly vary depending on the aircraft type, destination and duration.