““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
MEBA 2012: Strong Demand for Large-cabin Jets
Business aviation in the Middle East continues to thrive, with the market for large-cabin jets and corporate versions of airliners particularly strong. The region has long been an integral part of the sales effort of Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ), which has several government and commercial entities well established as customers. Prince Al Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia owns the world’s first privately held A380, for example, and ACJ owners also include Saudi Arabia’s National Air Services, Saad Group and Mid East Jet, Qatar Airways and the Qatari Amiri Flight.
Other aircraft manufacturers are doing well, too. Bombardier expects deliveries of 1,185 new business jets for the Middle East over the next 20 years, and Embraer Executive Jets claims to have more than 46 executive jets operating in the region: five Phenom 300s, upwards of 30 Legacy 600s, five Legacy 650s and six Lineage 1000s.
French company Dassault Aviation has a global backlog of more than 110 aircraft, with some 65 to be delivered by the end of 2012. Middle East companies now operate more than 60 Falcon business jets and will take delivery of around 12 new aircraft over the next 18 months. Saudia Private Aviation became the largest owner of the Falcon 7X worldwide with its fourth delivery last March.
For detailed coverage of the 2012 MEBA Convention, please visit our sister site MEBA Convention News.