Dubai-based luxury charter provider Elite Jets is expanding its operation with the construction of a dedicated facility at the new Jebel Ali airport and the addition to its fleet of two managed Raytheon Hawker 850XPs. The first aircraft has been delivered, while the second is expected to join the operation within weeks, subject to final negotiations. The company, which also flies two Hawker 1000s, plans to acquire a large-cabin business jet, with the Dassault Falcon 900EX and the Gulfstream G450 and G550 the main contenders.

“There has been an explosion in demand for business aircraft charter within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries,” says Elite Jets chief executive Paras Dhamecha. “We want to focus on building a strong, solid foundation with the smaller aircraft first and, when demand dictates, we will look at adding the larger-cabin aircraft.”

Elite, which is jointly owned by South African business aviation services provider National Airways, Royal Flight maintenance and service company Reef Aviation and Dubai-based holding company JML Investment, was appointed a Raytheon sales agent and distributor in November last year. “The region is responding well to the Beechcraft and Hawker brands,” Dhamecha says. “The mid-size Hawker 850XP is perfectly suited to this market as 70% of our charter flights are within the Middle East and to North Africa. We are also close to completing the sale of a Premier I light business jet,” he adds. Elite plans to break ground in early 2008 on its dedicated business aviation facility, which will house aircraft hangars, VIP and pilots lounges and offices. Completion is scheduled for later the same year.

Source: Flight International