Luxury charter provider Royal Jet has gained a foothold in the lucrative Saudi Arabian business aviation market by forming a commercial and operational partnership with Arabasco - the kingdom's largest provider of fixed-base operations.

Under the terms of the agreement, Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet will position a Gulfstream G300 and one of its 10 Boeing Business Jets at Arabasco's FBOs in the Saudi cities of Jeddah and Riyadh, from where it will offer private jet charters under Arabasco's air operator's certificate. Crew, full operations team and supporting logistics will also be in place.

"Achieving growth in a key regional market such as Saudi Arabia is an important focus of Royal Jet's expansion strategy," says Royal Jet chairman Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.

 ©Royal Jet

He adds: "Increasing Royal Jet's presence in the region was part of our strategic five-year plan and this alliance will help us consolidate our position. Saudi Arabia is the single largest and most mature private jet market in the region, and there are significant benefits that are opening up here, especially when one enters the market with an established brand and product offering."

Chief executive Shane O'Hare agrees: "We expect this trend to continue in the coming months, notwithstanding the global slowdown, because of the strong liquidity in the market and the still lucrative growth projections expected this year."

Arabasco chief executive, retired Brig Gen Mohamed Al Shablan, shares Royal Jet's optimism, noting that business travel should either maintain or increase current frequency and flight capacity.

"There will always be a market for premium jet services, especially in Saudi Arabia. Our business comes from the upmarket segment, which has maintained sufficient levels of liquidity, and will never compromise on the luxurious standards of business travel that they have been accustomed to," he says.

Source: Flight International