Aircraft charter specialist Delta World Charter (DWC), which achieved robust growth despite pandemic-influenced challenges, remains optimistic about long-term prospects of private air travel across the globe, writes Pummy Kaul (gulfindustryonline.com)
Despite the market challenges of the last two years, business aviation industry scaled new heights during the pandemic when commercial travel was restricted. The industry has witnessed significant growth in all the segments be it private jets or the charter flights– globally and as well as across the Middle East and Africa region.
Globally, 3.3 million private flights were operational in 2021, which is 7 per cent higher than pre-Covid figures, according to WingX, a business aviation intelligence firm based in Germany.
Closer home, 2021 was marked as the busiest year for global business jet activity, the Middle East region alone showing some of the strongest growth in business jet demands, notably from the UAE, which was up by 73 per cent compared to 2019. The business aviation market in the Middle East maintained its growth momentum in 2022, with flights up by 47 per cent in May, in comparison with same period in 2019.
“There has never been a more demanding period for the aviation sector than the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Aziz Ghorbani, General Manager – Dubai, Delta World Charter, a leading private charter specialist.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Dubai, Delta World Charter (DWC) provides tailored solutions of private jets, cargo freighter and commercial aircraft charter. Consistently expanding its international footprint, DWC said it has achieved robust growth despite pandemic-influenced challenges.
According to Ghorbani, the pandemic provided the catalyst allowing private aviation companies like DWC to change the dynamics of business aviation. “There is clearly a paradigm shift in the global client’s view of private aviation and air freight charter. Delta World Charter’s leading position has enabled clients across the globe to experience its benefits as a critical mobility solution,” he said.
DWC embraced its role as a cargo freighter as well as a passenger private jet, signing up for the position of the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Fly2Sky’s Airbus A320 fleet for the year 2021. “In the first six months of last year, we flew over 11,000 passengers across 80 flights, generating over $8 million and adding seven new customers to its roster,” he said.
Continuing its success story, the leading private charter specialist reported strong growth in Q1 2022, generating over $26 million in revenue between January and March this year. The growth came despite challenging market conditions – including a pandemic-induced economic recovery, fluctuating oil prices and global political instability as a result of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“DWC got off to a strong start in 2022, due to the rising demand for a comfortable and risk-free travel option at a competitive price, as well as the rising number of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs/ UHNWIs) in the Middle East. We foresee a bright future in this market and look forward to expanding our presence here,” Ghorbani explained.
He added: “As the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in the region continues to grow, we are poised to deliver bespoke services tailored to the requirements of corporates, VIPs, government officials and other individuals. We look forward to further expanding our operations in this market, as new business opportunities emerge. We remain equally committed to servicing the growing market for cargo operations, including emergency medical services and equipment supplies.”
Against this backdrop, DWC delivered one million kilograms worth of medical supplies from Asia to North America in the first quarter of this year. The green shoots of recovery have started with a significant increase in inquiries and bookings for leisure travel for summer and fall as well as for numerous requests for air freight charter received by DWC’s cargo division.
Charter flights also proved to be a necessity for the world during this difficult time. As borders shut and travel restrictions continued to fluctuate, DWC has stepped in to fill a critical gap and transported stranded travelers, millions of pieces of PPE, masks and aid to communities around the world during the pandemic. It was also one of the first air charter companies to deploy aircraft for evacuation of people in Kabul last year.
“Our global prospects have continued to grow with these efforts, as well as due to our successful participation at the Dubai Airshow in 2021,” Ghorbani said.
Driven by growing demand for private and cargo charter services in the region, DWC is also expanding its team and moved its corporate headquarters to a spacious, new office in the Dubai Airport Freezone (Dafza).
“While the company doesn’t operate its own fleet, we are seeing contract sizes grow significantly across both our passenger and air cargo units and we are working around the clock to ensure we have necessary infrastructure and capabilities in place to ensure the complete flexibility and diversification of our services in the most sustainable way,” he said. DWC’s breadth of coverage and global network of aircraft gives its clients access to over 60,000 aircraft.
Now as Covid-19 restrictions have been easing across the world and travel has largely resumed, DWC remains optimistic about long-term prospects of private air travel across the globe.
“We expect a rise in demand for business flights and an increased number of first-time private fliers as they look for safer and more reliable flight solutions. Our goal this year is to build on our leadership position, delivering world-class service, speed, flexibility and comfort via our global fleet network of over 60,000 aircraft,” Dmitriy Korshunov, CEO of Delta World Charter, said in a statement.
According to Ghorbani, DWC anticipates that private aviation will continue to thrive in the coming years, particularly, because a new class of consumers has switched to private aviation in search of safety, privacy and comfort and at prices that are approximately proportional to first-class commercial travel. Additionally, following the large-scale Covid-19 immunisation efforts and as countries have begun welcoming tourists once again, DWC witnessed tremendous pent-up demand for leisure travel.
“A large number of inquiries and bookings have come in for private charters this summer, and DWC is optimistic that this trend will sustain in the future. We are also receiving a large volume of requests for freight charter services in our cargo division, prompting expansion of our team and the establishment of a new corporate headquarters at the Dubai Airport Freezone (Dafza) in the UAE,” he added.
Meanwhile, commenting on the latest developments in the private aviation sector in the region, Ghorbani said that the infrastructure development intended to support private jets, including more allocated space at airports such as that witnessed at the new Oman airport for private and charter planes, as well as special private aviation facilities in Kuwait and Bahrain, are propelling the sector forward.
In Saudi Arabia too, the biggest market for private aviation in the Middle East, airport expansion projects in both Riyadh and Jeddah have allowed more space for charter planes and are contributing to a surge in private aviation. New technology – like better cabin data connectivity and improved navigation systems alongside improved infrastructure will play a key role in sustaining growth in private aviation in the future.
Further, the company said it is continuing to grow as a leader in the business aviation world, by evolving and innovating every aspect of its services to provide the most advanced systems and solutions and provide the very best value to its growing clients’ base.
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