A. Mardini: Success of FBO Comes from Being Part of International Network

Photo: Jetex

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Fixed-Base Operators are currently seen as the most valuable segment of general aviation services. Keeping in mind a rapid growth of this segment in general, Aviation Voice has talked to Adel Mardini, CEO of Jetex.

Jetex is a global leader in executive aviation which operates elegant FBOs and efficient ground support stations in more than 30 countries. Therefore, the CEO overviews the market, shares his insights and reveals several key points making the FBO business successful.

Recently it has been reported that during Q1 2018 the business aviation sector had reached its heights since the activity boom in 2008. However, despite the overall growth, the flight hours activity in the Middle East region has decreased. In your opinion, what is the reason for the decrease? Has it had any effect on your company’s activity?

The business volume in our industry did not get effected mainly because we are an international company with operations in Dubai. Regardless, if there is any business drop in the region, the private aviation has a specific customer base with VIP clients, celebrities and government official and so we have not seen a major drop. We have different offices around the world, operation centres in Miami, Beijing and in Dubai and we are always working with people and businesses globally.

To highlight about the drop-in business in our region, I have yet to see a significant drop; there is some stability in businesses. I am very optimistic about the future especially after the fuel price going up. I expect with the coming of Q3, Q4, the business will go back as before, in it’s growing phase.

Why the FBO services market is and remains a very competitive industry? What are the main aspects that FBOs compete on?

I believe that the success of any FBO comes from being part of an International network, single FBOs won’t survive for very long because the customers prefer to have sort of one umbrella to cover all their international travels and their businesses worldwide. There is no customer that is based in one location. The customers are always flying from A to B, from Dubai to London, London to Paris, Paris to Geneva, Geneva to Morocco, Spain, Rome.

So, the customers are looking for a complete take-care and this service is the only thing that can give strings to any FBO network. So, bottom line, FBO’s should be part of an International network allowing access to multiple locations as opposed to one region. If FBO’s are dealing with high-end clients, luxury services, it is only viable that they are spread globally for customers to have access to private aviation where ever they go, with the comfort of one company handling start to end.

What is the most frequent type of clientele you serve? Have you noticed any changes in the type of people who choose private aviation services?

We are serving all people – starting from government level, high end officials, and to celebrities. I did see subtle changes for example, when companies started selling a seat on a certain private flight, we see more people flying the private jets, especially ones who are frequent travelers of first class and business class.

Now these customers are moving to buying seats in a private jet. It is much more quick and exclusive. This is a fairly new concept, I hope this concept grows to be successful, just like it is in the United States and Canada.

In your company’s long, professional experience, what is the most unexpected or astonishing story that you can recall?

The opening of the Dubai FBO was an unexpected yet very successful event in our history. We received compliments from our customers which was the target of course but did not expect this amount of positive feedback and satisfaction. And this is a big indication for us; that the market really needs this kind of service and this level of expertise and luxury.