A decade ago, any discussion of the private aircraft market in the Middle East was generally limited to members of the royal families as customers, and the airplanes were for the most part executive/VIP versions of widebody airliners.
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Never a hotbed of activity for the West’s two regional jet makers, the Middle East market for RJs has long seemed as barren as the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. But like the oil riches that lie beneath the desert sands, the need for smaller, more efficient airplanes has finally surfaced with a little coaxing, as Embraer proved in late April.
Europe-headquartered handling group Swissport and maintenance provider Arabasco (Arab Airplane Services Co.) of Saudi Arabia have formed a new joint venture to establish FBOs at Jeddah and Riyadh. Handling operations for business aircraft could begin at both Saudi airports as soon as next month or November.