Abu Dhabi operator Royal Jet has added three aircraft to its fleet in recent weeks and expects to take delivery of another Learjet 60XR by the end of April. The deliveries extend its relationship with Bombardier and Boeing. “We have been working with both of these manufacturers for the past 10 years,” says ceo Patrick Gordon. “The approach of both companies reflects our commitment to excellence: they offer superior aircraft with the latest technology, and we pride ourselves on only working with the latest brands.
“We were expecting to receive the first deliveries of the new Bombardier aircraft in the first part of 2016. But due to the tremendous support of the manufacturer, we have been able to carry out the delivery of the aircraft much earlier than planned.”
Last year Royal Jet announced a fleet replacement and expansion programme that will be completed by the year 2020, at a cost of US$700 million. The programme is part of its long-term strategic plan to expand its network and meet growing demand. Its goal is to have 20 aircraft operated by the year 2020. Continues Gordon: “We still have a very good relationship with Gulfstream, and Airbus is still in the mix. But we have enough aircraft coming now through to the end of 2016.”
The first aircraft the company has taken delivery of as part of this programme is a Learjet 60XR. Delivered in October, it is fully operational, complementing the Learjet 60 which has been in the fleet since 2008. The 60XR can carry up to six passengers, and is also operated for medevac missions. The second aircraft is a Global 5000, which arrived in November 2014 and can carry up to 12 passengers, with a spacious cabin configured to sleep seven.
Another Global 5000 entered into service in January this year. This, along with the Learjet 60XR anticipated for April, means that the operator will have four new Bombardier jets by May 2015. It also has two BBJs on order, and a decision will be made in 2016 about additional fleet replacement.
“We have been working with Bombardier and Boeing since Royal Jet's conception 11 years ago, and we are delighted to continue our strong relationship with these two excellent companies. We were hoping to have our Learjet 60XR and Global 5000 at MEBA, but they have met with instant popularity with our clients, and both of them were half the world away on charter flights.
“We will continue to expand our fleet, however with the rapid evolution of aviation technology it is unrealistic to predict today what make or model of aircraft will be introduced in the next four years.
“At this stage, we do not focus on market share as the charter industry has multiple sectors and we continue to invest in delivering the highest possible service to the top-end of the market.”