Gulf private aviation is a $500m business
There 34 private jet firms in the region, says the head of Middle East Business Aviation Association
Private aviation in the Gulf generates revenues of $500 million, a figure that will likely double by 2019, Ali al-Naqabi, the chairman of Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), said in an interview published Thursday by the Saudi-based al-Eqtisadiah.
Naqabi said there were 34 private jet firms in the region. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the largest markets in the Middle East and North Africa, he said.
But Nabaqi said revenues from the sector could triple if private aviation was properly regulated.
Naqabi said that there were 150 private jets registered in Saudi Arabia and around 700 private jets belonging to Saudi businessmen registered abroad, attributing the figures to the absence of legislation and regulation.
The biggest challenges facing the sector are the lack of legislation and international agreements for the sector, an absence of laws for aircraft maintenance companies, a paucity of private airports and the spread of a “black market with illegal flights by some foreign private jet firms,” he said.
Naqabi also noted that officials in the region regarded the private aviation sector as “second-class” and were more concerned with commercial airliners due to the greater revenues they generated.
He said there was a significant rise in the number of private jets in the region and warned that if left unchecked by civil aviation authorities, the phenomena would increase the risk of accidents in the future and lead to an increase in illegal private aviation.