Dubai: Affordability isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of private jets. But GI Aviation, a private air charter company based in Abu Dhabi, is looking to bridge that gap.
GI Aviation launched its services in the UAE on Sunday, and said the pricing for its jets is around 40 per cent lower than that of other small jets, and around 10 per cent higher than Business Class seats on a commercial A320 aircraft.
Marios Belidis, general manager at GI Aviation, said the company uses single-engine PC-12NG jets, which are “more cost-efficient” compared to other jets as they require low maintenance and low operation costs, able to seat six to eight people.
“This type of aircraft has never been used in the Middle East. The Middle East used to have either big jets or the smallest jets, and there was nothing in between. There was a gap in the market because we see that the market is not doing as well as it used to; more people are becoming cost-conscious and they need something more affordable, so there is a gap and the market needs this product,” Belidis said.
He added, “It’s difficult to predict the economy at this stage, but the way I see 2017 there has to be something more affordable, so this is the perfect time to launch a product like this.”
The company only formally launched operations on Sunday, but the general manager said he expected to see strong demand, with GI Aviation having already seen “dozens” of requests for price quotations.
The company also said it was in talks with health care authorities about offering its jets for air ambulance services.
The aircraft are currently based in Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Airport, and only fly to destinations in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region as they cannot fly longer than around three hours.
“We are limited to the GCC region, but we could do Tehran. We are looking to start [flying to] Tehran once we make sure that all the US sanctions are lifted and it’s legally safe for us to fly there,” Belidis said.