Company snapshot

Date established 2003

Main business sectors Private jet travel and flight services provider

Main business region GCC and Middle East

Chairman Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan

Royal Jet in numbers

2003: Year that Royal Jet began operations

350: Number of employees

50: Size of fleet by 2021

Source: Royal Jet

Royal Jet structure

Royal Jet is a flight services provider operating out of Abu Dhabi International airport in the UAE. Its core business is to offer VIP aircraft charter, medical evacuation services, fixed-based operations (FBO) and aircraft management and acquisition consultancy.

Royal Jet fleet expansion
Year Fleet size
2005 4
2010 11
2013f 20
2020f 50
f=Forecast. Source: Royal Jet

The company was formed in 2003 and is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi Aviation and the Presidential Flight Authority, which was previously known as Amiri Flight.

The Abu Dhabi-based jet operator has grown quickly. It became profitable in its second year of operation in 2005 and has since grown 20 per cent year-on-year. In 2009, the firm achieved a 17 per cent increase in profit over 2008 and a 21 per cent increase in revenues. It employs 350 staff.

John Morgan has been Royal Jet’s vice-president of commercial since August 2008. Shane O’Hare has been the company’s president and chief executive officer (CEO) since July 2007. The company is chaired by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan, who is a minister in the UAE federal cabinet.

Royal Jet’s fleet
(Percentage of 11 aircraft)
Boeing Business Jets 55
Gulfstream 300 18
Gulfstream IVSP 9
Learjet 60 9
Embraer 9
Source: MEED

Royal Jet operations

Royal Jet is broken down into five business areas: luxury VIP aircraft charter; medical evacuation service; fixed-base operations (FBO); aircraft management; and acquisition consultancy.

Its current fleet of 11 aircraft includes six Boeing Business Jets (BBJ), which makes Royal Jet the world’s largest single BBJ operator; two mid-range Gulfstream 300s; a long-range Gulfstream IVSP; a Learjet 60; and an Embraer jet.

Royal Jet’s VIP charter service accounts for about 20 per cent of the region’s charter market. The majority of its clients are high net-worth individuals, including royalty, government ministers and officials, CEOs and celebrities. The BBJ used for this service can carry up to 52 people.

The operator’s medical evacuation service comprises a team of doctors and nurses, and includes a detailed pre-flight assessment to ensure the patient is fit to travel.

The FBO business operates out of the VIP terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport. From this facility, Royal Jet maintains its own fleet of aircraft, as well as those aircraft belonging to private jet owners.

Royal Jet also has a charter brokerage division and consultancy services in aircraft management and acquisition. It also offers luxury travel in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East through its partnership with Riyadh-based Arabasco.

In October, Royal Jet signed an agreement with Luxury Hotels by Dnata to offer holiday packages to destinations, including Egypt, the Maldives, Florence in Italy, and Mauritius. The agreement will run up until March 2011.

Royal Jet is also a founding member of the Middle East Business Aviation Association, which promotes the interests of the regional business aviation industry.

Royal Jet ambitions

Royal Jet is well-positioned to take advantage of the Gulf’s limited transportation links and demand for business travel. The region currently accounts for about 6 per cent of the global business jets market. Over the next eight years, the Middle East market for luxury air travel is forecast to grow, resulting in the need for an additional 400 aircraft, according to a study by the UK’s Frost & Sullivan.

Royal Jet plans to have a fleet of 20 aircraft by 2013 and 50 aircraft by 2021. This includes the purchase of two BBJ’s, one in 2011 and another by 2014.

Saudi Arabia offers the most potential for luxury and private jet business as the largest and wealthiest economy in the GCC for Royal Jet. The firm is also keen to break in to new markets such as Africa and develop existing interests in countries like Iraq.

Royal Jet already operates flights to Iraq. Executives of international oil and gas majors visit the country regularly to secure contracts as new infrastructure is being rapidly developed. Royal Jet offers return air travel and on the ground security once in Iraq and the operator expects this to be a strong area of growth for the company.