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MEBA: Arab Wings looks to the future with new Legacy 650

Amman-based Arab Wings looks to grow its fleet in the coming years, stretching its legs for the long haul while fortifying its regional presence. An expansion of its presence in the UAE is on hold, however, as the market matures.

The operator took delivery of its first newly certificated super-midsize Embraer Legacy 650 on Saturday, which is making its regional debut here at MEBA.

The aircraft, now based at Amman civil airport at Marka, is owned privately but has been provided to Arab Wings to act as charter operator for the Brazilian large-cabin jet.

The 4,000nm (7,400km) range on the aircraft, which features updated Rolls-Royce AE3007A2 engines and Honeywell Primus Elite avionics, enables a non-stop Dubai to London range, with 13 passengers and three crew.

The size and range of the aircraft allow the charter operator to tailor routes for the proper aircraft, says Ahmed Abu Ghazaleh, Arab Wings chief executive.

The company says it is aiming to use the Legacy 650 for around 50-60h a month.

ArabWings also expects to take delivery of its second Legacy 600 in the coming months, and will add two Bombardier Global 5000 business jets in 2012, which will be its fleet's longest-range aircraft, adding to a fleet that includes a Gulfstream G450, Cessna Citation Sovereign, Bombardier Challenger 600 series aircraft, Hawker 800XPs and a Beechcraft King Air B200.

Regionally, Ghazaleh says contracts with international oil and gas companies for operations in Iraq have shown significant growth since Arab Wings started operations there in 2005.

The company also recently received regulatory approval for a maintenance repair and overhaul facility in Amman and will decide in 2011 a third-party partner to contract with at the facility.

As for its presence in the UAE, Manal Obeid, Arab Wings head of sales and marketing, says the rapid influx of aircraft into the country created an unstable pricing environment.

Obeid prefers to be based in Jordan as it is a more stable market, and will look at the UAE again in a year before any expansion decisions.