Dubai-based luxury charter provider Elite Jets began operations last week to exploit the burgeoning demand for business aircraft transport within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, writes Kate Sarsfield.

Elite Jets, which has received an air operator's certificate from the General Civil Aviation Authority in Dubai, is jointly owned by South African business aviation services provider National Airways (NAC), Royal Flight maintenance and service company Reef Aviation and Dubai-based holding company JML Investment.

Elite launched the operation with a Beechjet 400A light jet, but plans to broaden the appeal and scope of its charter fleet with the addition in December and February of a mid-size Hawker 1000 and a large cabin Dassault Falcon 900B.

"Our long-term plans for the charter operation include a Boeing Business Jet, if the market demand it," says Elite Jet chief executive Paras Dhamecha.

The focus of Elite Jets, Dhamecha adds "is to offer its clients flexible, private air travel options at competitive prices, based on four key principles - safety, luxury, privacy and care". Private air travel is not just for the super-rich, he says. "With the flexible fleet we are building, we aim to bring private air travel within reach of many more individuals in the region."

Dhamecha says the charter operation will provide a "shop window" to aircraft sales and management. The company will penetrate these markets, he says, by building on the strengths of its stakeholders.

"NAC, for example, is asales and distribution agentfor Africa for Raytheon Aircraft and Gulfstream and we hopeto extend this relationship toour Dubai operation as demand for these types grows in the region," he says.

Source: Flight International