ExecuJet is kicking off a venture in Qatar next year - with the goal of tapping the emirate's burgeoning business aviation sector in the run-up to the 2022 football World Cup.
The Swiss company - which last month expanded its fixed-base operations in Dubai with a second hangar - will team with local company Al Faisal to establish an aircraft management and charter operation under a Qatari air operator's certificate early next year.
Following that it plans to set up an FBO and line maintenance operation at the country's new airport, although no date has been fixed, says ExecuJet Middle East managing director Mike Berry.
"Qatar has always been a market on our radar," says Berry. "It's a small but wealthy country and the run-up to the World Cup will mean a huge demand for business aviation."
Rizon Jet and Qatar Airways' own executive jet division are the other two main business aviation operators in the gas-rich Gulf state, although Qatar's ambitious expansion plans - including building stadia and hotels for the 2022 tournament - are likely to lure others.
Meanwhile, ExecuJet Middle East is adding four aircraft in the next two months. The Bombardier Challenger 604 and 605, Dassault Falcon 900DX and a Gulfstream G450 join a Bombardier Global 5000, Learjet 60 and Hawker 800 to take the business's managed charter fleet to seven. The business also manages 15 private aircraft on behalf of owners.
Berry says the Dubai operation has seen a rapid ramp-up in business in 2010 following last year's downturn, with November a record month for traffic through the FBO.
"We couldn't keep up. We had to bring people in from our South African operation," says Berry.
Among the drivers are a large demand for charter flights into Iraq and Afghanistan and an re-emerging high-end tourism market out of Russia. "The Russian tourists are definitely back," says Berry.