For the two brothers who run Dubai-based UAS International Trip Support, promoting business aviation for its intrinsic benefits has always been important. While other players in the Middle East market have gained a reputation for luxury and high spending, they continue to emphasize the value of the industry as a time saver that allows business people to Avoid delays and hassles associated with airlines.
“This is a very important point that cannot be overemphasized: the pandemic has helped promote business aviation for all the right reasons – convenience and efficiency – not the traditional factors that attracted typical users,” said Executive Chairman Mohammed Al Husary. AIN. “Business aviation is considered a luxury; however, due to the pandemic, many new entrants now understand its true value.
Like many other players around the world, UAS has seen its opportunities expand due to airlines’ lack of agility during the pandemic, when they were forced to suspend services for months. Under these circumstances, UAS believes, business aviation has gained popularity and visibility among the general public, allowing more people to experience its benefits.
CEO Omar Hosari said AIN that UAS was not opposed to luxury per se and included such components in its marketing and messaging. “But while some of our industry peers tend to focus on this to the exclusion of everything else, we do things differently,” he said. “We always focus on the right reasons: economy of use.”
This reflection highlights a point raised in the past by Ali Alnaqbi, Executive Chairman of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), that the importance of the regional and global industry lies more in its nature as a profitable economic engine than a luxury. for the privileged few. “We have always acted on the basis of our principles,” Al Husary said. “Even though there are players in the market going the other way, we have not been tempted to lose sight of our core values.”
Despite the failures of commercial aviation over the past two years, it has still proven to be a lucrative source of revenue for UAS, often on cargo flights. UAS provides the same service to airlines as to private jets: clearances, ground handling, refueling and hotel accommodation. However, business aviation remains its most important source of income today.
“It’s a 70-30 ratio; 70% of our revenue comes from business aviation and 30% from airlines,” Hosari said. “We are tempted to increase the revenue stream for airlines because customers like the service. We exist to deliver quality to VIPs and elites; as operators, airlines are not used to this type of service.
“We are seeing an increase in demand from airlines for travel assistance solutions and while we are very passionate and have a clear bent for business aviation, we are also committed to supporting this market. niche.”
The brothers appreciated the UAE’s dexterous handling of the pandemic and were optimistic about the prospects in Dubai. Although the company does not expect to exceed full-year 2019 operating levels until 2023, performance in the first quarter of this year has already exceeded that of the same period in 2019.
Charter business has increased by 35-40% this year. “In the first quarter, most of these visitors came not just for Expo but for destinations in Dubai,” Hosari said. “Business travel to Dubai accounts for around 75% of the total, while 25% is leisure. Dubai is an attractive location for investment. Business is booming here. We know the market is recovering. The government of the United Arab Emirates is very ambitious. It plans to double the size of the economy to almost AED 3 trillion [$820 billion] by 2031.”
In China, Al Husary said there was good synergy between the company’s airline and its business aviation partners. There was some inbound activity, as well as outbound transactions, but inflows were “zero”.
Since December, the Chinese steel conglomerate and strategic investor Fangda Group has been the new Chinese partner of UAS after taking over the aviation group HNA, former owner of UAS. Fangda is a major steel and mining conglomerate, both among China’s largest industries. “Fangda is now a shareholder of the former group, although the name HNA is still used by airlines,” Al Husary explained.
“We are now even stronger because Fangda is a stronger partner than HNA, wants to develop and advance business aviation and invest worldwide through UAS. They will support us vertically and horizontally. We will serve airlines airlines and corporate jets.Through HNA, there are also private and commercial MRO options.
Although Fangda is a strategic partner and investor in the company, the management will remain in the hands of UAS and the two brothers, as shareholders, founders and co-owners of the subsidiary, will continue to assume their management functions. .
Even though HNA went bankrupt, Al Husary said UAS was not injured. “On the contrary, we are confident that the future of UAS is secure,” he said. “We have a strong, rich and ambitious partner. We have a large office in Beijing; it is operational and working well. We are growing commercially in China.
UAS is looking for another opportunity to bring new technology products to market this week at EBACE. “EBACE is an important event, providing access to the right people, brand visibility, networking and the opportunity to introduce new technologies,” said Al Husary. “We plan to launch a new Travel Management System Customer Portal, a product that enhances an existing product, but with new features and branding that pilots and operators will love.”