The Middle East market for business jets is beginning to show signs of recovery as confidence starts to return. Dassault has a growing fleet of Falcon business jets in the region, which it plans to grow by 30 per cent over the next three years, thanks to a solid aircraft order book from regional buyers.
In addition to the rising demand for new aircraft, the level of private aviation activity is picking up as indicated by the increasing number of hours being flown by business jet operators in the region. With the private aviation client base now evolving beyond the traditional, small group of elite clients to include corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and other business users, supported by solid aviation infrastructure, Dassault now considers the regional market for private aviation as very 'mature'.
Dassault Falcon sold 14 aircraft in the Middle East in the last two years and has a backlog of 15 additional aircraft to be delivered to regional buyers by 2013. Dassault's current regional fleet size is about 60 business jets and this is expected to grow by one third over the next three years. 40 per cent of the company's new business jet sales are coming from the Falcon 7X and the company will deliver its tenth Falcon 7X to the Middle East before the end of 2010. Dassault has also expanded its presence and infrastructure with a new Regional Sales Office and recently appointed a new Regional Sales Director, in Dubai, as well as a second AuthorizedServiceCenter and a new Customer Service Manager, in Saudi Arabia.
"The Middle East business environment still remains challenging but confidence levels appear to be rising," said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon. "Dassault has seen much greater demand over the last two quarters of the current financial year, with larger cabin jet sales and prices holding up better than smaller jets. The indicators for recovery are starting to show but even if this is not a true rebound, business has certainly resumed. Western economies are still struggling to recover but other regions are active including India, South America, Asia - and the Middle East, where we have an advantage because of our military heritage and established reputation, through the Dassault Mirage fighter jets that are operated in some GCC countries.
"Investment made in private aviation infrastructure in the boom years is supporting the development of business aviation in the region," added Rosanvallon. "The service centers and FBOs (fixed base operators) in the region are recognised as being amongst the best in the world and are helping business aviation to develop rapidly and attract a much broader clientele here," he said. "This is the result of the substantial investments that have been made over the last few years and which are now starting to pay off. Given this situation, we are very optimistic about the future, which is one of the reasons we are developing our own presence and adding new resources. CAE SimuFlite, our training provider partner, will, for example, open a brand new Falcon training center in Dubai in the second quarter of 2011."