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Five Minutes With.. Captain Patrick Gordon, Acting President And CEO, Royal Jet

Five Minutes With.. Captain Patrick Gordon, Acting President And CEO, Royal Jet

Royal Jet will receive two new Boeing business jets later this year as part of a $700 million fleet expansion and replacement programme, says Gordon.

How did the luxury charter market fare in 2014?

The aviation industry in the Middle East is booming. No other region in the world has such growth potential. The Middle East Business Aviation Association – MEBAA – has forecast that business aviation in the MENA Region will grow to $1.3 billion by 2020, up 152 per cent from the $515 million industry that it was in the past.

Globally, the private jet business remains relatively flat, as the industry continues to find its feet again after the financial crisis; however, in the Middle East we are seeing strong interest in private aviation. It is a highly competitive marketplace and Royal Jet is pioneering growth in the region leading into a future that bodes well for the entire industry. We have been profitable for the past eight years and continue to grow.

What key trends are emerging in the luxury charter space?

This region is seeing steady growth from the corporate travel market. It can therefore be challenging for customers to secure a first class seat with commercial airlines. Royal Jet is seeing increasing demand for private jet travel from corporate guests, as in many instances it is a cheaper alternative to charter a private jet for six corporate travellers for short journeys to cities within the GCC, Beirut, Cairo and Istanbul. Due to this growth, we are consciously investing in smaller aircraft to match our guests’ requirements.

How are lower oil prices impacting your operations?

With the lowering price of oil we are seeing the market coming back strongly. We pass on any savings that we make when buying fuel to our clients. As the cost of energy gets cheaper for consumers, families have more available money and private jet charter travel becomes more attractive.

You established your first base outside of Abu Dhabi last year, where are you looking next?

Our Royal Jet FBO (Fixed Base Operations) in the Seychelles has been a great success since it opened in October 2013 and we have confirmed we are looking at a number of locations to open another facility next year.

How is Royal Jet expanding its fleet?

Royal Jet has committed to a fleet expansion and replacement programme that will increase its fleet to 20 aircraft by 2020 at a cost of $700 million. The programme started in October 2014 and we have received three new aircraft in the past six months. We have two new Boeing Business Jets that are due to arrive later this year.

Royal Jet currently operates 11 aircraft – six Boeing Business Jets, two Bombardier Global 5000s, two Bombardier Learjets and one Gulfstream G300. The two Bombardier Global 5000s joined the fleet in November 2014 and January 2015 and a new Learjet 60 XR joined the fleet in October 2014.

What are your expectations for 2015?

In addition to growth from corporate customers, we expect that government business with continue to be strong, along with growth from foreign businesses. It’s a very buoyant marketplace. Royal Jet is the benchmark for Middle East private charter companies. It is our aim to be the benchmark for global operators offering VIP chartered services.

Are you hiring?

We are always looking for enthusiastic, dedicated employees who are committed to providing an exceptional service to our VIP clients.

What makes the perfect employee?

A perfect employee is someone who demonstrates dedication and passion in their work. They need to have a sound love for aviation and enjoy what they do for a living.

Define success in five words…

I couldn’t define success in five words. For me, success is not just about wealth and position, it’s also about striking a balance between looking after your health and well-being and being in a role that you are enthusiastic about. Working with talented people is also important.

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