Sunday, July 05, 2020

What you need to know about hiring a private jet to UAE

As commercial airlines continue to scale down operations amid the global spread of Covid-19, private jets are taking to the skies offering an alternative means of air transport.

But this time their clients are not just the well-heeled businessmen or high-net-worth individuals who prefer luxury flying. Private jet companies in the UAE say they are dealing with a new breed of clients - expats who are stuck abroad and desperate to fly back to the UAE or those wanting to return to their home countries.

"There is a big surge in demand and we are dealing with a new customer base. The spike in demand is from those who are looking to repatriate to their home countries or wanting to travel to destinations where commercial airlines are not flying," Elie Hanna, regional director of Air Charter, a private jet brokerage company based in Dubai, told Khaleej Times.

In the last three weeks, since the UAE allowed the return of residents, Hanna claims his company operated 12 flights from Saudi Arabia to the UAE and several flights from various Indian cities to the emirates.
Hanna said when his company was flooded with enquiries from individuals, they adopted a new strategy to link up individual passengers and helped them form small groups so that they can afford a private jet.

"For instance, if we get ten separate calls from individuals interested in a specific route, we will help them connect. They will pick a group leader who will collect the money and pay us in a single cheque and sign the flying agreement. And we fly them from point A to B.
"We don't see it as opportunistic. We were quick to adapt to the changing dynamics and help these people with an affordable option," he added.

Ramila Tandel, Charter sales manager of Gulf Wings, a private Jet company in Dubai, said the demand is "mind-boggling".

"Most of the enquiries are from people who have personal issues. There are many who got separated from families, or who got stuck abroad while they had a job in Dubai. For them, chartering a private jet has become an option to return," she said.
05/07/20 Anjana Sankar/Khaleej Times

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