Special Report: Aviation - Low-cost carriers expand fleets

10 November 2009

Luxury jet operators and low-cost airlines are taking advantage of the bargains currently on offer from manufacturers in the market and expanding their fleets

A lot of deals will be closed at the Dubai Airshow 2009, which takes place in the emirate this week. The Gulf’s premium carriers, such as Emirates and Qatar Airways, are important customers for aircraft manufacturers including Europe’s Airbus, the US’ Boeing and Canada’s De Havilland.

But other sectors of the aviation industry are providing good business to the world’s aircraft manufacturers.

The Gulf’s five major low-cost carriers have 149 aircraft on order for delivery between now and 2016. By then, the region’s largest budget airline, Air Arabia, will have 60 aircraft in its fleet – up from 19 today.

Flydubai plans to have a 54-strong fleet by 2015, up from five today.

The business jet sector is also growing in the Gulf. While the 20 per cent forecasts for growth between now and 2012 have been downgraded to single figures, the Gulf’s business and luxury jet sector is faring better than in other regions.

Abu Dhabi’s Royal Jet has recorded a 15 per cent increase in VIP charter business in 2009, with strong demand for flights in and out of Europe.

Luxury jet operators and low-cost carriers alike are taking advantage of the bargains that are currently to be found in the market.

Discounts of up to 30 per cent are being offered to the manufacturers’ best customers. So for those with the cash, now is a good time for fleet expansion.

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