The number of business jets in the Middle East could double to 600 over the next five years as the region's general aviation sector is growing at an annual rate of 18 per cent, Dubai aviation officials said, Gulf News reported.
General aviation, which relates to activities outside the scheduled airline and military sectors, is a fast growing area in Dubai, said Paul Griffith, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, the entity in charge of Dubai International Airport and the upcoming Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali.
The movement of small business planes in the Middle East is growing by 18 per cent a year compared with the global average of 10 per cent, Griffith said, adding that very light private jets are becoming more affordable.
The city will host the General Aviation in the Middle East Summit, the region's first such event, on Tuesday and Wednesday to look at different aspects of this business.
There has been 30 per cent increase in executive flights in the last three years in Dubai. Last year there were 9,000 executive jet movements at Dubai, according to Jamal Zaal Bin Krishan, general manager of the general aviation depart of Dubai Airports.
The regional general aviation market at present is estimated to be $500 million. It could grow to $1 billion a year by 2020.
The expansion of private aircraft fleet is also expected to create a secondary market and demand for after-sales services and spare parts.
"We are encouraging the setting up of more maintenance facilities in Dubai," Bin Krishan said.
Brazilian planemaker Embraer plans to set up a regional service and maintenance facility for executive jets in the UAE this year.
Claudio Camelier, vice-president of market intelligence for the executive jets division, told Gulf News recently that the company wants to push several new products in the Middle East market.