Lebanon's recovery from its political troubles is prompting the growth of the country's private aviation business. More locals are buying aircraft and tourist and company executives visit as the leisure and business markets rebound.

That has led to Executive Aircraft Services, which says that it is Lebanon's leading business aviation firm and has been active for around 10 years, expanding its footprint in Beirut, the capital.

"Traffic has been increasing as the country is now peaceful. People use Beirut for technical stops and the businessmen return as economic growth continues. Lebanon has always been a leisure destination, and tourists are coming back in high numbers," says Nael Chehab, operations and sales manager at Executive Aircraft Services.

The company has just added a Dassault Falcon 900B to its fleet of managed aircraft, giving it a total of eight business jets. Of these, two are available for charter. All of these are owned by Lebanese nationals, says Chehab. There are around 15 business jets that are based in Beirut and owned by Lebanese, he adds.

Much of the traffic from Beirut is to regional destinations in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. However, there is also demand to and from European cities in France, the UK and Greece.

Executive Aircraft Services is investing in its various businesses in response to this growing demand. The company has a 60% share of the Beirut ground handling market, and buying new equipment in anticipation of a larger market.

The company, which has an office at the general aviation terminal in Beirut's Rafic Hariri International airport, also has an FBO with a lounge in the same building, says Chehab.

It also owns a 1,765m2 (18,900ft2) hangar at the airport that can accommodate one Global Express and four medium-sized aircraft. It is certificated to handle several various types of Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier aircraft, and continues to add more capabilities, he adds. It also plans to build a new hangar, and waiting for the go-ahead from the country's civil aviation authorities.

Source: Flight Daily News