Qatar Airways looks to expand private jet business with new Bombardier acquisitions
Qatar Airways has announced it has purchased two Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft in a deal worth US$90 million as part of plans to further develop its 12-month old corporate jet subsidiary, Qatar Executive.The new business jets are scheduled for delivery in October 2010 and August 2011 and will join three Bombardier Challenger jets currently operating within the Doha-based Qatar Executive fleet. Announcing the order on the opening day of the Farnborough Air Show today, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker also hinted at possible further acquisitions as the airline continues to take advantage of the Middle East region’s growing corporate jet market. “We launched Qatar Executive last year because we had identified a huge gap in the market and are now well on the way to filling that void,” said Al Baker, adding that the corporate jet division formed part of the airline’s robust growth strategy worldwide.”The additional capacity and non-stop range capabilities of the Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft allow us to offer increased flexibility to our customers.”Despite the current global economic climate, there remains a strong need for corporations to conduct face to face business meetings in the shortest possible time and with a hassle-free travel experience.”With a flying range of up to 5,200 nautical miles, the 13-seater Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft will have the longest range of any of the jets currently in the Qatar Executive fleet. These aircraft can fly to destinations as far as Hong Kong non-stop from Doha. The Qatar Executive fleet currently comprises two Bombardier Challenger 605 jets featuring 11 seats, and the eight-seater Challenger 300 aircraft. The new aircraft will feature high class specification interiors offering passengers the comforts of luxury travel - working, relaxing and sleeping inflight.The two additional Bombardier aircraft will be based in Doha and can operate non-stop to anywhere in Europe, as well as most places in Asia and Africa. All Qatar Executive jets can reach North America with a fuel stop in Europe. The corporate jet market in the Middle East has grown at an average of 13% a year since 2000. Nine years ago, there were 200 corporate jets based in the Middle East, more than doubling in size to 450 in 2008 with estimates of further growth over the next few years.The Middle East corporate jet market alone is estimated to be worth between US$500 million and US$700 million a year.Individual wealth within the Gulf region is expected to grow by over 50 per cent during the 2008 - 2012 period, up from US$2.1 trillion to around US$3.8 trillion, according to statistics provided by international management consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.