Gulfstream G700 Gulfstream Aerospace (Static A12) is showcasing the five-cabin-zone Gulfstream G700, the U.S. company’s forthcoming ultra-long-range flagship, this week at MEBAA 2022 in the model’s debut appearance in Dubai. Boasting what Gulfstream G700 claims would be the tallest (6 feet 3 inches; 1.90 meters) and widest (8 feet 2 inches; 2.49 meters) cabin in a purpose-built business jet, the 7,500-nm Gulfstream G700 is expected to enter service in mid-2023. The Gulfstream G700 on display features a corporate-configured cabin along with what Gulfstream terms an “ultra-galley” with more than 10 feet of counter space; a grand suite with fixed bed and bright, spacious lavatory with shower; circadian lighting system; and new seat design of the Gulfstream G700. “It really shows the flexibility of the design that our team has created,” said Gulfstream president Mark Burns about the Gulfstream G700. The twinjet arrived in Dubai during a world tour aimed at demonstrating the precocious maturity of the Gulfstream G700 aircraft model, which has been in flight testing since early 2020. The Gulfstream G700 tour began following the aircraft’s NBAA-BACE debut in Orlando, Florida, in October and includes some 20 cities on six continents, with visits to Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, for the Future Investment Initiative and Bahrain for the Bahrain International Airshow already in the logbook. With a Mach 0.85 long-range cruise speed and Mach 0.90 high-speed cruise, the Gulfstream G700 set eight international city-pair speed records during flight tests and established another on this tour for a flight from Istanbul to Van Don, Vietnam, where the model had its Asia-Pacific debut last month at an event hosted by the Gulfstream G700 sales representative Sun Air. “Vietnam and Southeast Asia are strong developing markets for Gulfstream G700,”
With the knockout phase of FIFA World Cup having started on Saturday, Middle East-based flight support companies are warning tournament-goers about an extra layer of unpredictability through the final match on December 18. “We knew which national teams were playing in the group stages, but we didn’t know who will make it to the knockout phase,” said Henry LeDuc, head of strategy development at UAS International Trip Support. “This means there were a lot of pre-planned flights already for the group stage. Ad hoc flights will rapidly build from countries whose teams advance to the next round.” Some 48 matches took place in the group phase, which ran from November 20 to December 2, with qualifiers playing only 16 more. Tom Murphy, head of FBOs and aircraft management specialist at Gama Aviation Sharjah, told AIN that demand ramp-up starting with the knockout will only soar higher with the quarter-final, semi-final, and final games. “Charters are going to be very challenging for ad hoc at the last minute,” he said. “Given the restrictions for gaining access to Qatar, you need a minimum of 72 hours’ notice for a flight. You also need a hire car, as proof that you’ve got a match ticket. Last-minute charter is going to be very difficult.” To meet expected spikes in demand, several aircraft charter companies in the region—including Qatar Executive, Empire Aviation Group, Jet Aviation, and ExecuJet—are making extra aircraft available to tournament-goers on charters and shuttles. UAE-based Royal Jet and Jetex signed a partnership early last month to operate on-demand 30-seat private jet flights between Dubai and Doha for the duration of the competition. Royal Jet operates the world’s largest fleet of Boeing Business Jets and announced the acquisition
Celebrating its 15th year of operations this week at MEBAA 2022, management specialist Empire Aviation Group (Static S4; EAG) has seen its charter business triple since 2019, it said on the eve of the biennial Middle East business aviation show. “Our movements as a company today are up 200 percent over 2019,” EAG founder and managing director Paras Dhamecha told AIN. “If you look at the number of airplanes coming in and out of the region, I would think that, overall, movements have increased strongly.” The VIP Terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport (OMDW) has been the focus of business aviation activity. “If you visualize where earlier aircraft were parked—basically two rows along the length of the ramp of the VIP Terminal area—today, we’ve got aircraft stacked about five rows deep on the sides. Obviously, there are substantial movements, but I’m not aware of the actual numbers.” He said the company tracked the type and number of movements of aircraft under its management, but not the overall market. Several industry participants have said that the lack of clarity from the authorities on business aviation movements at Dubai’s airports hampers business planning. Relocation specialists South Africa’s Henley & Partners have identified the UAE as the leading global destination for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and expected 4,000 millionaires to move there this year alone. “The UAE still has this huge concentration on becoming a global hub for business aviation,” Dhamecha said. “It’s going really well. Dubai looked like it was number two or three in terms of overall growth and movements during the pandemic. “Obviously, the borders were open, so there was a lot more movement. The growth trajectory has been exponential. Support from the government continues to grow.
While the Middle East represents only about 5 percent of general aviation worldwide, the region is poised for growth given its size, the different businesses that exist, and the fact that companies typically have dealings in several countries in the region and increasingly have to connect to Europe, the U.S., and Asia. That’s according to Dassault Aviation international sales director Renaud Cloâtre, who is based in Dubai. “Growth potential is enormous because the region is underequipped,” Cloâtre said. “If you look at general aviation’s structure in Europe or the U.S., there’s clear growth potential in the Mideast. We are in an economy where the energy market is actually changing relations between Europe, the U.S., and the Middle East. The value of oil is increasingly recognized. Oil prices are increasingly relevant, underlining oil’s true value. It’s needed. There is also a requirement to use it wisely and not burn too much. “Regional transition, as you’ve seen in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as in other countries, is taking place. The UAE has changed over the past 10 years. Change has taken place all over the region. When you move towards change, you need the tools for it, and business jets are one of them.” He said the Falcon 7X—of which Dassault sold six to Saudia Private Aviation—has been a tremendous success. “The 7X and 8X are fantastic aircraft, going all the way from here to continents. People in Saudi Arabia love three-engine aircraft. They love the stability of fly-by-wire. The Saudi market is very complex, in terms of actors and operators. It’s a big country, a big domestic market; it’s distance they need. “Again, if you look at all the missions general aviation can