EXCLUSIVE: Jetex plans to announce up to four new FBOs in 2020

Jetex CEO Adel Mardini says now is the best time to invest in the business aviation market as private jet operators snap up first class passengers
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Business aviation, JETEX, Private Aviation, FBO

One of Dubai’s premier business aviation companies, Jetex, is set to unveil plans for up to four new FBOs this year after CEO Adel Mardini decided that now is the time for the private jet market to shine in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on the Sam Chui Aviation Business Podcast, Mardini said that Jetex is targeting Asia, where it currently has no locations, but in the long-term has significant plans to expand its footprint in the GCC region.

Mardini said that now is the best time to expand and invest in the private aviation market because “all the research has indicated growth in the business aviation market over the next five years”.

Whereas the International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing airlines, expects the commercial aviation market to take four years before it returns to normal and can begin to grow again.

“70% of our [new] customers are coming from first class and I don’t think these people will fly first class again, at least for the coming five years,” Mardini said.

“We plan to make announcements this year for another three to four FBOs, we’re in the middle of negotiations for expansion. And we are targeting the Asian market. We don’t have a presence yet in the Asian market.

“Hopefully by the end of the year, October or November, we will come with a couple of announcements for the Asian market, plus we’re working very hard to have more slots in the European market.”

Jetex currently holds a sizeable 20% share of the Parisian private jet market, according to Mardini, which is an indication that there is significant scope for expansion in Europe for the operator.

The main obstacle to Jetex’s growth continues to be securing airport take-off and landing slots, which are highly sought after and can become very lucrative.

“We waited almost 10 years for Dubai South to have slots and to start operations in Al Maktoum airport,” said Mardini. “We waited in Oman for the new airport to open so we could have a slot, Marrakesh is the same.”

But the fact that Jetex’s growth mainly hinges on the expansion of the real estate in airports could present the company with a chance to boom in the GCC market once it matures.

“We see Bahrain building a new airport, Kuwait building a new airport, Jeddah and Riyadh as well are expanding… once they expand their facilities, for sure we will have a footprint at these locations. So yes, we are targeting Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific.”

In the MENA region, Jetex currently operates FBOs in Dubai, Muscat, Abidjan and Marrakesh.

Earlier this year, Mardini told Aviation Business that the company is looking to capitalise on the consolidation the business aviation market is expected to see in the coming months.

“We are hungry in the market and we are looking to make further acquisitions,” he said. “We are hungry to acquire individual FBO and we can see FBOs wanting to be secure under a big umbrella.”

Episode 2 of the Sam Chui Aviation Business Podcast will be available to download soon. You can listen to Episode 1 HERE

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