MEBA: Broadening VistaJet seeks to sustain 20% yearly sales growth

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All-Bombardier block charter specialist VistaJet expects to match last year's 20% revenue growth in 2010, after what chairman and founder Thomas Flohr terms a "very good summer".

A VistaJet Challenger 850, fitted with the same cabin as the Global Express, is on static display here. "It's a very popular aircraft in the Middle East," Flohr asserts. "Huge luggage space is available and it fits 14 people."

The top end of the market - in which Austria-based VistaJet competes with Bombardier Global Express and Challenger aircraft - is where growth is strongest, says Flohr. He estimates the uptick in this category at 30%, compared with 10% for Bombardier Learjet aircraft. "We see the market going in a certain divergence in terms of the top end being stronger than the lower end," says Flohr.

The European market remains at the centre of VistaJet's business, but the Middle East is an increasingly lucrative territory - with growth running at about 20%, driven by activity in Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This year has brought a move into West Africa, where VistaJet is targeting customers in Nigeria, Ghana and Congo. "The wealth being created down there and the poor infrastructure, in terms of commercial flights available, really propelled us to [be] a leading provider in that region," says Flohr.

The customers here are predominantly "entrepreneurs getting from A to B in a difficult logistical environment", and as such are typical. "They're using this as a business tool, and I think that's consistent throughout our client base," says Flohr. Governments lacking aircraft of their own make up an additional client base, he adds.

During the summer a Global Express joined Vistajet's fleet, which now comprises 27 aircraft.