Royal Jet has set its sights on the 126,700 millionaires in India, many of whom are exhibiting a growing taste for executive travel.
The charter jet company, based in Abu Dhabi, is the world's largest operator of Boeing business jets and has partnered Aviation Services Management (ASM) to extend its reach into India. ASM provides services such as flight support and landing permits, ground handling and crew management.
India's growing economy swelled its millionaire ranks by 51 per cent last year, according to a report released this year by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. The populous south Asian nation is one of just a few countries worldwide whose list of millionaires is longer now compared with before the global downturn, said the study.
"The number of high net worth individuals in India is experiencing considerable growth, which, when combined with a significant gap in the availability of business jets with 10 to 42-passenger capacity, presents excellent opportunities for business aviation across the Indian subcontinent," said Fahad Wali, the acting commercial vice president of Royal Jet.
Royal Jet, whose chairman is Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak, operates a private terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport but charters its large business aircraft to customers around the world. The company said the growing affluence in India was the driving force behind its expansion.
Business jet travel, which costs thousands of dollars per hour, is staging a recovery after the global downturn dampened demand.
Over the past 18 months, Royal Jet's growth has been focused on the Saudi market, with a tie-up with a local firm, Arabian Aircraft Services Company, which operates business jet terminals and repair facilities throughout the kingdom. Through the partnership, Royal Jet now has a business jet based in Saudi Arabia catering to local clients.
In addition, Royal Jet launched a sales office at Stansted Airport to expand its presence in the UK and European markets. Its fleet includes five Boeing business jets, which are luxury configured 737s, and business jets from Embraer, Gulfstream and Learjet.