Lebanese operator and Middle East Airlines subsidiary Cedar Executive ordered a second Embraer Legacy 500 at MEBAA yesterday, to feed the growing appetite for business jet travel from companies and individuals within Lebanon.
The Beirut-based company launched services with the Legacy 500 in January to complement its commercial airline offering, and plug a gap in the market for ad hoc VIP travel. “People in the Lebanon like to charter private jets, but there is a shortage of aircraft,” says Cedar Executive chief executive Fouad Fawaz. “MEA has a good reputation in the region and we use the strength of this brand to promote the service.”
Fawaz says the Legacy 500 is a perfect fit for this market with its stand-up-cabin, 3,120nm (5,790km) range – putting it within reach of popular destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Greece – and low operating costs. “The first thing that people ask us is: ‘how much will it cost to charter?’. Price wise the Legacy 500 is the best in its class.”
The company has a fixed base operation and maintenance facility in Beirut but the Legacy 500 and its passengers are supported at other major airports by MEA’s local handling agents.
The Legacy 500 is scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2017 and Fawaz says Cedar may consider purchasing more aircraft if demand is strong enough. “We also have to consider the political and economic climate in the Middle East before we look at purchasing more aircraft,” he says.
Speaking at a photocall yesterday to mark the order signing, Embraer Executive Jets president and chief executive Marco Tulio Pellegrini said: “Cedar Executive has exceeded their customers’ expectations with a
high-end premium service in their very first year of operation. It is a pleasure to be part of this accomplishment by supplying the aircraft that combines the comfort, technology and performance desired for the ultimate travel experience.”