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Empire Aviation Group records 11% increase in charter sales for January

The regional market for business jet charter is continuing to recover, according to Empire Aviation Group (EAG) – which manages and operates the Middle East`s largest mixed fleet of 21 business aircraft – after the company reported another month of strong charter demand in January 2010, with an 11% increase in charter sales. This follows a strong recovery in October-December (Q4) 2009, after charter bookings for the company dropped around 40% in the first half of 2009. The Middle East continues to dominate the charter market as the favoured point of departure to global destinations and also as a destination for clients, with the trend in the number of enquiries through brokers rising over the last 12 months, from its lowest level during the recession at the start of 2009. Paras Dhamecha, Executive Director , Empire Aviation Group, comments: “Empire Aviation Group operated charter flights to a variety of global destinations in January 2010, including the Far East, Africa, Maldives, South America, Afghanistan/Iraq, and the CIS countries. The number of enquiries, bookings and the flying hours of our fleet of business jets, increased significantly in Q4 2009, and 2010 has also started strongly.” This includes a rise in the number of enquiries for `block hours` from our corporate clients, who are flying similar routes more frequently and can benefit from advance purchase.” According to the company, charter demand is a good indicator of the health of the overall private aviation sector: “This segment of our business allows us to showcase our aircraft and the benefits of business jet ownership,” adds Paras Dhamecha. “Aircraft finance is becoming easier to obtain again and so the buying option is becoming realistic; and with aircraft values still depressed, there is an increasingly attractive opportunity for those seriously considering purchase.” There are around 45 private business jets operation out of Dubai and over 500 in the Middle East, mostly in Saudi Arabia under private ownership for personal use. There is no official charter market value for the Middle East. Paras Dhamecha says: “Our aircraft charter business has remained positive due to the careful mix of business jets in the fleet that we manage and operate on behalf of owners. This ensures a wide range of aircraft options for clients and allows us to consistently generate charter income for owners, as we manage their valuable assets.”