The forecast is based on the new wealth created by Russia’s business boom, the size of the region and the poor and/or unreliable transport links which has resulted in greater reliance on corporate jet services.
Faris Deeb, Managing Director of Prestige Jet says that since 2000, the Russian GDP has grown by an average 7 per cent a year. In the same period, dollar income per head has grown by nearly 29 per cent annually, faster than China. This unparalleled growth in the population’s disposable incomes has created what the media is calling the ‚new Russians‘ which includes an emerging upper middle class who are clamouring for the finer things in life.
„Russian consumers have embarked on an unprecedented spending spree, on all things luxury. This conspicuous consumerism has also led to more discriminating preferences in transportation and travel. Russian business people in particular are increasingly embracing executive jets as indispensable business tools.‘
Deeb adds that according to figures released by the Russian Business Aviation Association (ADA), private jet ownership and business aviation movements in Russia and the CIS skyrocketed 30-40 per cent in recent years.
„While the figures show sales of private jets having increased by almost 50 per cent last year .. . . admittedly starting from a small base, it remains prohibitively expensive to register foreign-made planes with Russian airlines because of exorbitant import duties,“ he said.
„As a result more and more companies and individuals are turning to charter companies, such as ours.
„In our short history, we have already seen strong growth from this market segment and we are gearing up our operations for greater expansion in 2008, through the acquisition and/or leasing of a number of new aircraft in the coming months.“
Deeb also said Prestige Jet would be joining a number of other UAE companies at a special, upscale lifestyle show in the Russian capital, Moscow from 25-27 October 2007.
„Extravaganza Expo will feature the very best, most exquisite, products and services for members of Moscow’s elite. The opportunities for increasing exclusive air travel between the two countries were recently given a further boost by the official visit of Russian President, Vladimir Putin to Abu Dhabi last month which have significantly strengthened ties between Russia and the UAE.“
Prestige Jet began operations in May 2007 and has quickly established itself as one of the foremost providers of top-of-range executive flight services from and to the Middle East region, filling a niche in the fast growing VIP and business aviation market, particularly in Russia.
„The heads of large Russian corporations and wealthy individuals are increasingly recognizing the commercial advantages private jet travel brings – not the least of which is being free to fly when they want, where they want, without delays or connection hassles,‘ adds Deeb. „This form of transport also affords greater security, reduces travel time and increases privacy, while at the same time overcomes the challenges of transfer connectivity, and transit times at international airports.“
Deeb says that contrary to popular belief the cost of chartering a business jet can be very cost effective if a trip is well planned.
‚Prestige Jet currently uses Challenger 604, Challenger 601 and Hawker on the journey between Moscow and the Gulf.
However he adds that services aren’t confined to trips to and from the Russian capital.
„As we operate a fleet of diversified, new generation aircraft, this affords us greater flexibility to use both commercial and private airfields across the country as starting points,“ he says.