There has been a sizable hike in requests to charter business aircraft from the Middle East in the past year, suggesting industry fortunes in the region could be rebounding, says the online private flight marketplace Avinode.

The biggest increase has been for flights to Russia and the CIS – an area of the world hit by economic problems in recent years. Requests to travel there from the Middle East were up 29% in the year to November, the company says. Demand to Europe was up 15%, while enquiries about flights within the Middle East increased 9%. The rest of the world was 19% higher.

Avinode has also ranked the most popular types of aircraft within the Middle East, based on flight requests from the region for the year to October. The top five is dominated by large-cabin products, with the Bombardier Challenger 604/605 followed by the Embraer Legacy 600/650, the Gulfstream G450 and the Bombardier Global 5000. The midsize Hawker 750 is fifth.

“The past 12 months have seen a healthy increase in both domestic and international flight requests for the Middle East region,” says Oliver King, Avinode’s managing director. “The market is being led by confident leisure and long-haul family travel which is also driving an increase in heavy jets and VIP/ultra-long-range aircraft.”

At November’s National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando, Avinode launched a payment platform called PayNode, in partnership with American Express. The system allows customers to pay directly for business charter flights via credit card, something Avinode says will save days of delay caused by other forms of transaction. The product is due to be expanded to allow payment by bank wire transfers.

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Source: Flight Daily News