NetJets Middle East will take delivery on 14 November of the first Dassault Falcon 2000LX to be operated commercially in the Middle East.

The handover of the large-cabin business jet will coincide with the tenth anniversary of the region's longest-running fractional ownership and block charter programme, which is operated under licence by Saudi Arabian company National Air Services.

NetJets Middle East operates a fleet of 17 business jets including Gulfstream G450s, Hawker 750/800XPs and Falcon 2000s. The Jeddah-based company admits the global recession has affected the factional and charter business throughout the region with the United Arab Emirates the worst hit.

"Our business is evenly split between the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt," says NetJets Middle East's executive director for business development Graeme Deary. "While the Saudi and Egyptian markets have been less affected than the UAE by the financial crisis we have seen a drop in our business overall."

Deary says NetJets has been forced to cancel and defer some of its orders until the market picks up. "We did have an order for 20 2000LXs, but because of the current situation we will only take one aircraft this year and one more in 2010. We will gauge the market before we commit to further deliveries," says Deary.

The downturn has also prompted NetJets to expand it management offering as a means of boosting its charter fleet with minimum financial outlay. The company manages a Falcon 2000, GIV and an 800XP and is set to take delivery early next year of a G550.

Source: Flight International