According to Steve Varsano, founder and owner of The Jet Business, a London-based aircraft broker, “It’s no secret that recent events—whether social, economic, or political—has put a dampener on the [Middle East] region as a whole, at least in perception.”
However, Varsano takes an optimistic view of the future: “We believe activity will pick up again going into 2019 but it will be a slow process. We see other aviation companies expecting the same with FBOs and operators gearing up to increase their presence in the Middle East region, and some of the OEMs bringing new hires into the region.”
What about the market? “Currently Middle East business jet owners are adopting more of a low profile, but with the host of new aircraft models coming into service over the next year or two, it will be business as usual with principals going through their usual ownership cycle by replacing existing aircraft with more fuel efficient and technologically advanced options. The focus will still be on long-range, large-cabin aircraft,” said Varsano, whose innovative Park Lane store has proven very popular with Middle Eastern visitors.
“With the waiting time until delivery and associated teething problems, we expect an uptick in clients considering preowned interim aircraft more closely,” he noted.
“With the three VIP airliners in our current inventory, we are still receiving significant interest from Africa and the Middle East,” Varsano continued.
The Jet Business experienced its first summer this year in the new showroom in London (having moved into a larger store. “The majority of our visitors—existing owners and prospective buyers alike—were from the Middle East,” he concluded, underlining the importance of the region to business aviation.