ExecuJet and NasJet are gearing up to open their fixed-base operation at King Khalid International airport in Riyadh in the first quarter of 2013. The venture marks the first foray into the Saudi Arabian market for ExecuJet and the launch of NasJet's FBO ambitions.
"We plan to expand our partnership to other airports in the Kingdom," says Hardy Sohanpal, head of marketing with NasJet. "First we will concentrate on getting the Riyadh FBO up and running. Then we [will] explore other opportunities," he adds.
Mark Hardman, operations director at ExecuJet, says: "Both parties bring a lot to the table: NasJet [with a managed fleet of 65 aircraft] has a broad knowledge of the Saudi market, while ExecuJet has extensive expertise in running FBOs [with a network of 18 worldwide]."
The partners expect to handle around 4,000 business aircraft in their first year of operation up to 2,000 of which will come from existing ExecuJet and NasJet traffic. Neither is phased by the stiff competition from other aircraft and passenger handlers at Riyadh airport - Saudia Private Aviation, ARABASCO and Jet Aviation.
"There is plenty of business coming in to Riyadh from within the region and internationally," Sohanpal says. He attributes this in part to the trillion dollars of invesment being pumped into the city to fund a host of ambitious projects.
Gary Forster, ExecuJet's FBO manager in Riyadh, says the company has so far recruited 90% of its employees, of whom 38% are Saudi nationals. "A number of staff are currently being trained at ExecuJet's Dubai facility," he says. "Our employees will combine international expertise with local custom and experience."