AMAC Aerospace is returning to MEBAA in bullish mood as acceptance of the Pilatus PC-12NG is gaining momentum across the region.
The Basle, Switzerland-headquartered company is exclusive sales agent in the Middle East for the PC-12NG and its in-development stablemate, the PC-24.
“It’s been a slow start for us,” says Kadri Muhiddin, co-founder and chief executive of AMAC, which began marketing the Swiss-built high-speed aircraft in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey in 2012.
“We have spent the last few years promoting the aircraft in commercial and utility roles and educating people about the advantages of single-engined aircraft,” says Muhiddin, pointing to the PC-12's agility, range, low operating costs and “great” safety record.
The effort has started to pay off. AMAC has secured three orders for the aircraft this year: two from Abu Dhabi charter start-up Gi – which received its UAE air operator’s certificate on 5 December – and the second from a private owner.
“The PC-12 can take off and land on most surfaces, it has a cargo door and payload of 1t – it is unique to the business aviation market,” says Muhiddin, who is a PC-12 owner himself.
He is unconcerned by the arrival within the next few years of Cessna’s rival executive turboprop-single, the Denali, which is scheduled to make its first flight in 2018. Comparing Pilatus with the high-end car brand, Mercedes, he says: “A company with a good name, reputation and history will always stay at the front.”
He is also confident the in-development PC-24 superlight business jet will be very well received in the Middle East.
“It has the versatility of a PC-12 in a twin-jet design”, says Muhiddin. AMAC has two orders for the aircraft, which is scheduled to enter service next year with US fractional ownership operator PlaneSense. “We hope to receive our aircraft in the last quarter of 2018,” Muhiddin says.