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ME operators cut down plans for new aircraft

While 9,450 new business deliveries valued at $280 billion are forecast between 2014 and 2024 around the world, a combination of macro political, social and economic influences has, in the short term at least, pushed out five-year new jet purchase plans in the Middle East, with fewer operators planning new jet purchases in the coming couple of years.

Yet this is only half the story and there is in fact reason to remain optimistic about the growth potential of the region’s aviation industry in the short and longer terms, according to Honeywell’s 23rd Business Aviation Outlook.

For one, demand is particularly strong in the large cabin end of the market, fuelled by the region’s desire for long haul luxury travel, and there is also buoyancy in the five year used jet market too, the report said.

These growth areas are, in turn, driving a range of new technologies and innovations in the industry specifically geared towards helping Middle East-based business aviation operators streamline costs, improve operational efficiency and enhance the passenger experience simultaneously.

Component suppliers such as Honeywell, which provides technologies that span cockpit systems, cabin entertainment equipment and engines for virtually every business jet in the sky, will be focusing heavily on technologies and services to lower costs and improve passenger experiences at this year’s MEBA (Middle East Business Aviation) show that opened in Dubai today (December 8) at Dubai World Central.

In particular significant business is expected across its aftermarket services, such as cockpit and cabin upgrades, and its extended warranty programs that make service and maintenance more predictable and cost-effective. These products help operators extend the life and capabilities of their in-service aircraft, meet new European and US mandates, and get more out of what they are already flying today.

With large cabin and VVIP business jets accounting for 55 percent of new jet purchase plans in the Middle East region across the next five years, the passenger experience remains another important topic at this year’s MEBA show.

With Middle East corporate jet passengers flying longer, the need for new entertainment and connectivity systems is paramount and, for charter companies, will become a significant differentiator in what is an extremely competitive market.

At this year’s MEBA, Honeywell will showcase its Ovation Select Cabin Management System, which brings to the cabin 1080p high definition gaming and Blu-ray entertainment, at-seat environment controls and integration with passengers’ personal devices.

It will also have on its booth its new line of JetWave satellite connectivity hardware — on show in the Middle East for the first time. This equipment exclusively supports Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX satellite communications service which, when it goes live in 2015, will bring home and office-like levels of broadband Wi-Fi to the aircraft, over land and sea.

With 10 billion mobile devices for a global population of 7.3 billion people forecasted by 2016, the insatiable appetite for connectivity is clear and consequently in-flight Wi-Fi is set to be one of the hottest trends for Middle East business aviation as we move into 2015, the report said.


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