Saudi Arabian operator Wallan Aviation yesterday ordered its first large-cabin aircraft in response to changing customer demands in the Middle East region.
The company picked up a pre-owned Dassault Falcon 900EX EASy II that will be delivered before the end of 2012, and ordered a new Falcon 900LX that it will receive in the second quarter of 2013. These will join the six Cessna Citation aircraft in its fleet.
"Since the middle of 2012, we have seen a lot of changes in the market," says the company's chairman, Saad Wallan.
"We have had more and more demand for bigger aircraft that can carry more passengers and have a longer range. The Middle Eastern economies are growing, and we feel as though there is a lot more than we can do."
In addition to charter operations, Wallan offers maintenance and pilot training services. Its chairman says that demand will grow as the countries in the region relax the regulations that have prevented the growth of business aviation.
"Look at Saudi Arabia," Wallan says. "We have 46 airports that can be used for aviation, the economy is booming and there is construction everywhere. But until recently, we had to register aircraft in Europe as there was little understanding of what business aviation was all about.
"There is a growing understanding that business jets are a tool for both tourism and for companies," he adds. "The regulations are being eased and that will help us and the industry to grow even more."