x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Gulf hungry for super yachts and private jets

The Middle East's super rich are back buying superyachts and private jets despite the choppy waters and turbulent headwinds buffeting the global economy.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited the Dubai International Boat Show. Pawan Singh / The National
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited the Dubai International Boat Show. Pawan Singh / The National

The Middle East's super-rich are back buying superyachts and private jets despite the choppy waters and turbulent headwinds buffeting the global economy.

While luxury boat builders struggle to generate sales in Europe, the number of vessels at the Dubai International Boat Show this week is up about 10 per cent on last year.

Gulf Craft, the UAE's only maker of superyachts, announced it had started its biggest project to date, building a 155-foot superyacht slated for completion in 2015. This is 20ft longer than its current longest model.

The global market for private and executive jets is also staging a major recovery, aided by growing demand in the Middle East, especially in Arabian Gulf states such as the UAE.

As manufacturers and customers convened for the start of the Abu Dhabi Air Expo at Al Bateen Executive Airport yesterday, they could be confident that they had left the global downturn behind them.

Annual sales of new aircraft and overhauled second-hand ones are expected to double to almost US$35 billion (Dh128.55bn) by 2030, and the annual global growth rate in the years between 2010 and 2030 will amount to about 4 per cent, according to a study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. "Countries like the UAE are driving this growth and will even exceed the region's growth rate," said Holger Lipowsky, the project manager at Roland Berger.

Private jet-charter companies are also reporting a rebound.

Royal Jet, the Abu Dhabi-based private plane operator said revenues for its Gulfstream aircraft rose 27 per cent last year, while income for its Boeing Business Jets increased 6 per cent.

The company, which does not publish full financial figures regarding its performance, said 2012 was its seventh consecutive year of profitability.

 

lgutcher@thenational.ae