Karen Walker

Leasing aircraft might be the way forward for Middle East countries that wish to take their first steps toward setting up regional airline services. That is the message from British Aerospace Asset Management.

Alan Sitton, the organisation's head of European sales and marketing, sees enormous potential for a regional network to be built up in the Middle East, but recognises that it will take time. He believes that leasing is a good way to make "first, tentative steps" in the regional market.

However, Sitton also feels it is important for industry to take a softly, softly approach while the concept of regional airlines becomes accepted in the Middle East.

"We are not trying to ram this particular product down anyone's throat," says Sitton. "All we are saying is that people might try leasing rather than buying as they take their first tender steps."

Sitton says his company also supports the idea, voiced by director general Mike Ambrose of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) earlier this week, that ERA and industry might jointly provide expertise and information to Middle East countries about aviation liberalisation and establishing a regional network.

If that were to happen, Sitton says industry could help neutrally, without promoting individual aircraft products. Industry might, for instance, jointly commission an independent study to analyse routes and city pairs in the Middle East.

US-based Raytheon, manufacturer of the 19-seater Beech 1900D commuter aircraft (an example of which can be found in the static park), also seems keen to support any industry-wide initiative to start the regional ball rolling in the Middle East.



Source: Flight Daily News