Modesty in Dubai
The consensus amongst speakers and delegates at Corporate Jet Investor Dubai was that the last few years have been tough for the Middle Eastern business aviation market. The General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates also presented data proving this. The UAE scheduled operator fleet did not grow at all in 2016 and fell by five aircraft in 2015. This followed on from a record 2014 when 21 aircraft were registered.
Dubai as a city is a great example of the “build it and they will come” approach to forecasting and many of the delegates are still investing in the region – whether it is building new hangars or hiring staff – for the long term. But it is always hard to balance short term dips. As one operator said: “Investors always forget that it is a five-year project once it starts.”
But there is some optimism that things could start improving soon. Some 76% of delegates were fairly optimistic about the region for 2017 and 2018 – with 7% very optimistic. This is encouraging, but – intriguingly – just 73% of voters are confident that their company will grow. Some 23% were negative about how their company will perform. This is a question we ask fairly regularly at our conferences and normally people are more confident about their business. Perhaps delegates in Dubai are just more modest than other markets.