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Lounging in peace

Posted 8 January 2018 · Add Comment

As peace and stability increases in Lebanon, the country is seeing a steady climb in business and tourism.

Business and private aviation in the Middle East has been a huge success story in recent years, with many Gulf countries beginning to dominate the market.
One Arab country fast becoming a business aviation hub is Lebanon, and private and business aviation services company, Sky Lounge Services, is growing rapidly due to customer demand.
Based at Rafic Hariri International Airport (RHIA) in the General Aviation Terminal, the licensed Lebanese air operation company only launched services in April 2016 but already it has added a new jet.
“We started out managing three private aircraft – a Global Express, a Falcon 2000, and Falcon 2000LX – as well as chartering a Hawker 400XP,” explained sales manager, Nour Oueida.
“Because of the increase in market share and overload of flight bookings, we had to expand the AOC fleet to be able to match our clients’ growing requests. Consequently, we recently acquired a newly refurbished Challenger 605, which started operating in August 2017.”
The company sells, operates and manages aircraft – and it is soon adding ground-handling services to its fixed-base operations (FBO) profile.
“We provide personalised FBO and handling services that typify professional attention to detail,” said Oueida.
“Our customers include people from the political, business and family spheres. We fly to any destination in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, and are able to answer the demands of any business or lifestyle.”
Oueida said Lebanon is seeing increasing business aviation as the country becomes more stable.
“Following the significant growth of flying hours and air traffic in the Gulf region, Lebanon is finally emerging into that wave and rising above the shocks of the political turmoil in the wider region and the remains of the global economic crisis,” explained Oueida.
“This increase in peace is attracting more trade, business and tourism to the country, and, as we can see, the industry is, indeed, spreading out in the region and the trending market is expanding.
“According to new figures released by Bombardier’s market forecast, the Middle East is set to be the fastest-developing region for business aviation in the world, with an estimated 7% fleet growth by 2030.”
Oueida is keen to point out that Sky Lounge Services is successful due to its attention to safety, reliability, and customer management.
“We have high safety standards and our winning point is client reliance,” said Oueida. “Clients trust that we will always find an aircraft for them at any time and anywhere, and at the best price. And, from an operations point of view, we are definitely the fastest and most accurate and effective with flight scheduling, to get all the permits done on a timely manner, to process clearances, and to secure slots.
“We are still expanding our network with foreign operators to ensure we get priority notification on aircraft availability and special quotations for our clients.”
As well as the new aircraft, the company is trying to build “stronger client relations” by working on a loyalty programme.
Oueida said: “The loyalty programme will ensure better quotations for our frequent flyers and loyal customers. We are also working on making the private aviation industry in the region more accessible. Although, in general, private aviation inspires pictures of luxury and wealth, we want the image to be seen as more friendly and closer to home by the public – a means of transportation that can be accessible at a point.
“We are still in the study phase of the project and how we can introduce it, given the demographic characteristics of our target customers.”
The company is also in the negotiation process and contract phase with several owners willing to put additional aircraft under its management.
“These additional aircraft might soon be available for charter,” said Oueida. “With all these things happening, it is a very exciting time for us, not just in the business aviation market, but also in Lebanon.”
 

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