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Royal Jet seeks to further develop medevac and long range
Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet, having recently been awarded 'Middle East's Leading Private Jet Charter' operator at the World Travel Awards 2015 for the eighth year running, is now turning its attention to the medevac and long range vip markets.
Read this story in our July 2015 printed issue.

Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet, having recently been awarded 'Middle East's Leading Private Jet Charter' operator at the World Travel Awards 2015 for the eighth year running, is now turning its attention to the medevac and long range vip markets. Acting president and ceo Patrick Gordon says that the company's Learjets are very active in the medevac field, and the Gulfstream 300 is also very useful for emergency flights. “It performs nicely for us and has the capability of carrying two medevac kits at one time.

“We have been thrilled with the reaction to our new Global 5000s. We had a given number of flight hours that we budgeted for, and since they have arrived we have been operating in excess of that number. It's obvious our clients really like the aircraft. It has wonderful range and great performance.

“Just one day after getting the first aircraft certified it was chartered for Abu Dhabi-Seoul and the first charter on the second aircraft was Abu Dhabi-Mauritius.”

Royal Jet is still set to receive two new BBJs as it continues to update its fleet. The BBJs will each have 34 seats: 16 vvip class and 18 upscale economy seats. The interior design has been completed and Gordon will be announcing the chosen completion centre in the near future. “At this time we look forward to getting them out of completion by the end of 2016,” he continues. “The interiors were designed by Edese Doret Industrial Designs in New York and they are true works of art. The company has already designed many aircraft, yachts, palaces and villas and they do incredible work.

“We will run both aircraft about three months apart through the same completion centre so that we have quality and standardisation. The interiors will be identical in shape and form, but will have different colours and fabrics to break them up.”

Gordon speaks of a 'select but diverse' group of clients that fly with his company. “We charter our BBJs to a wide range of clientele, from royal families to government delegations and sports teams. One stipulation we find is that most people in the Middle East like the bedroom up front instead of in the back. We are accommodating this preference in the design of both of these aircraft.”

Royal Jet is co-owned by the Presidential Flight Department and Abu Dhabi Aviation, the largest helicopter operator in the Middle East. Gordon says that instead of taking on rotorcraft at Royal Jet he is happy to take care of the fixed wing side of the business and leave the rotary wing aircraft operation to the more experienced personnel at Abu Dhabi Aviation. “The kind of medevacs we are talking about are Middle East to Europe. We can't do short range within the UAE, even with a Learjet – by the time you get the patient to a suitable airport the helicopter would have arrived at the hospital. So I think we have pretty good synergy with our owner companies in dividing the workload available to us.

“I think we are a little low profile. I would say the vast majority of our work originates in the Middle East, but it is global in scope. Last year we went to 250 airports in over 105 different countries around the world. If you say you do that with an airliner, that is pretty impressive, but to do that with 11 privately operated aircraft is an extremely good year-end result. We are able to sell most of our empty legs through modern IT sources. If you know you have an empty leg coming up you can put it on the empty leg network and somebody often scoops it up pretty quickly.

“We have to look at Royal Jet goals 50 years down the road, because we have a great company with a solid operational foundation, and a strong financial base. To have 20 aircraft in 2020 has a nice ring to it, but this won't be the end goal for Royal Jet – 2020 is not a stopping point, it's a checkpoint on a long flight.”

As a target for the remainder of the year, he would like to see enhanced vision systems installed on all aircraft, after they were installed on the Global 5000s. No operator is currently certified to operate commercially with them in the Middle East. The type of flying the operator carries out ranges from hunting trips in Pakistan with very poor visibility, through to London Heathrow. “In the winter time in Pakistan, you can't see anything; it is just smoke and haze from thousands of fires for heating and cooking. Above 5,000 feet it is severe clear. You can look straight down and see something but you have no slant vision. There are no precision approaches at these remote airports so all you know is that you are told that the conditions meet the minimum for a non-precision approach.

“Consequently, I'm really excited about enhanced vision. It is going to make us much more capable of getting in to airports that have fog, smog and cloudy conditions.”

And what of his own position as 'acting' president and ceo?: “I serve at the pleasure of the board of directors. While I am acting president and ceo, it is a case of full speed ahead. We have tremendous growth potential – there is a lot of activity that we have not been involved in previously that we really should be. I think it is going to be exciting working with Royal Jet and taking this team to new goals. What we do right now, we do really well. We have to be careful not to expand too quickly into areas that we may not do well in through lack of experience.”