Home / Hardy Bütschi Talks Middle East Aircraft Management

Hardy Bütschi Talks Middle East Aircraft Management

Aircraft Management, CJI Dubai 2024, EMEA, Hardy Bütschi, Middle East, News

Hardy and his co-panelists discussed “Managing Middle Eastern Aircraft – Are Owners’ Expectations Being Met?” as well as other topics during the 60-minute session. We talked to him afterwards to catch up on his contributions and key take-aways from the panel and the event overall.

Hardy, if you had to summarize your impressions from this year’s CJI conference in Dubai, what would it be?

Optimism! The event organizers polled the opinion of the almost 300 attendees and delegates at CJI Dubai, and everyone, including myself and the entire Jet Aviation delegation, were optimistic about the possibilities and potential in the region.

How so? What fuels this broad optimism?

Both in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia we see significant investments in the growth of aviation infrastructure. For the UAE for example, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, has approved the AED128bn ($35bn) expansion of Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). By 2030 the airport, which is already the main business aviation airport for Dubai, is hoping to manage 260m passengers per year. This will open up many new opportunities for Jet Aviation across all of our lines of business.

How is Jet Aviation positioned to benefit from these developments?

We’re in an excellent place. Jet Aviation has had a physical presence in the Middle East since 1979, and we have a large number of long-term customers in the region across all lines of business. Our local on-site presence allows us to foster and prioritize these personal and long-lasting relationships – sometimes over generations. To seamlessly support the specific needs of our customers, Jet Aviation offers a variety of line and light base maintenance services at our facilities in the region. Our flagship maintenance facility at Dubai International Airport (DXB) holds over 15 different aviation authority approvals and over 20 different aircraft type approvals. This includes ground handling and maintenance services for the G700, where customers benefit from the close collaboration with our sister company Gulfstream. 

On top of this, we have an FBO network with locations in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, representing gateways to some of the most important economic, political, and cultural sites in the region. 

In addition to growing our capabilities within the region for our customers, we are also committed to supporting the growth and development of young local talent through trainee and apprenticeship programs. We see ourselves as a talent incubator; identifying, hiring and nurturing this potential with opportunities for further training and development locally and as part of our extended global network.

“We have a large number of long-term customers in the region across all lines of business – sometimes over generations.”

The panel session looked into the opportunities and challenges of Aircraft Management in the Middle East. What did you tell the audience about our activities in the region?

Aircraft Services remain strong in EMEA, even with industry data showing that managed and charter activities continue to climb down from the 2022 peak. The data shows that there is a slight decrease in flights and flight hours in the region, as well as in aircraft operated out of the Middle East as compared to one year ago. We are also seeing increased turnover in the existing managed fleet globally, which provides opportunities for owners to reconsider their management partners. At Jet Aviation, we continue to focus on making aircraft ownership effortless by offering personalized solutions that combine our technical skill, regulatory knowledge, and the robust global network necessary to address the complexities of aircraft management on behalf of our customers. We currently manage 300 aircraft worldwide, and more than 75,000 flight hours, all while maintaining an exemplary safety record. Our teams are able to bring our Aircraft Management customers in the Middle East the benefits of a global provider, with global knowledge and presence, but also with local insight and understanding, combined with all the services of our award-winning MRO and FBO network across the region. This is what really sets us apart and gives us every reason to be optimistic about the opportunities ahead.

Hardy Bütschi Talks Managing Middle East Aircraft

What is different about operating in the Middle East to other regions?

With many different countries and regulatory bodies, flight planning and aircraft management in the region can be complex. Our local experience and long-standing close relationships with regulatory and airport authorities are key assets when operating here. With over 40 years presence in the Middle East, we have built these relationships and are able to ensure seamless operation for our customers in, and traveling to, the region.

How does Aircraft Management in the Middle East fit in the bigger picture of making aircraft ownership effortless for our customers around the globe?

The Middle East aircraft management market was traditionally more price-focused, but in recent years we have seen a shift towards customers looking for a partner that offers comprehensive value across their services. Within Jet Aviation’s global network, our teams work together in service of the customer, enabling us to provide a personalized and tailored management solution that can be anything from comprehensive turn-key solutions to personalized programs.

Looking forward, what will the future of Jet Aviation in the Middle East look like?

The Middle East continues to be a very important market for us. We are committed to the Middle East as a key strategic hub in our network and continue to invest and grow in the region. Our teams are able to bring the benefits of a global provider, with global knowledge and presence, with the local insight and understanding that we know is so important to many of our customers in the Middle East. Sustainability is also a topic of growing importance in the region, and Jet Aviation is at the forefront of the industry in exploring ways to reduce emissions, power our sites with renewable energy, and reduce waste across our operations. We already offer Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) at all our FBOs in the Middle East through Book and Claim, and we constantly look at new ways of offering our customers sustainable choices across our lines of business.

Hardy, thank you very much for your insights.


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