FLYING to your own, personal timetable must one of life's greatest luxuries, the ultimate freedom, and it is one enjoyed by a variety of people for a wide range of purposes.
Of all the status symbols available – corporate or personal – the private jet is right up there, close to the top of everyone’s personal wish list.
And yet, a private jet is not just the unreachable dream of glamorous film stars, rock stars and the mega rich. For many the private jet is simply a (very luxurious) way of getting from A to B with the minimum of fuss, the maximum convenience, with a high degree of privacy and personal attention. It’s not just about getting there – whether to the world’s international capitals of business or fashion – it’s how you get there.
The number of private jet movements in and out of Dubai International Airport increased by 57 per cent in 2005 (6,216), compared to 2004 (3,940) and movements in the first quarter of 2006 were 24 per cent ahead of the first quarter of 2005. The number of private business jets available for charter in Dubai is approximately 10 and this number is set to rise. As the number of luxury hotel and residential developments in Dubai increases alongside the high level of business activity, private air travel is set for strong growth in the leisure sector.
Caron Gledhill of Elite Jets, an established private jet charter company in Dubai, explains that setting up a charter company is not just about the hardware: “Managing a fleet of aircraft means getting the operational systems right, to meet the stringent safety and operational requirements of the local and international aviation authorities. But in the private air travel market, these are ‘givens’ and the real difference lies in the quality of service this must be five star from end to end.”
When you travel by private jet, the VIP treatment begins at the check in lounge at the VIP terminal, where an immediate, polite examination of the passport precedes the short limousine drive to the aircraft, and the welcome from your personal onboard team. The process is mirrored at your destination.
Getting the product, service and delivery right is absolutely critical in the luxury private air travel market. Clients expect a very high standard of aircraft, comfort and convenience but the quality of hospitality, the standards of care and service, also make a significant difference to discerning clients who have high expectations.
“The benefits and convenience of private air travel are well understood in the corporate sector but there is also increasing interest amongst travel agents and tour operators, shown by the response at the ATM 2006, where we had serious enquiries from agents in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as interest in the block leasing,” says Gledhill.
“Tour operators and luxury hotel property owners from the Maldives, Greece and Cyprus, for example – all within four hours’ flying time of Dubai – are targeting leisure travellers from the Gulf and we are in discussions on how to package luxury destinations with luxury private air travel and ground transportation for Middle East travellers – it’s a market with a lot of potential.”
Like all luxury products and services, success lies in paying attention to the smallest service details, and the people who deliver the service, he says. “So, when we planned our inflight services – this can be based on anything the client requests – we looked for the best and most experienced cabin crew, who would understand the needs of our clients and deliver a service that incorporates all the elements included in our mission statement: Safety Luxury Privacy Care.”
Elite Jets has assembled a growing fleet of jet aircraft, based in Dubai, tailored to the needs of a range of corporations, VIP families and individuals. For those interested in investing in a business jet, Elite Jets can even arrange to purchase and lease/manage the aircraft.
by Jackie Kennedy
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
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