IN THE JET STREAM

Abu Dhabi 2017 | AEROSPACE | B2B

Keeping ahead of the competition can be tough, but a focus on excellence and creating value is keeping these players flying high.

Rob DiCastri
ROB DICASTRI
President & CEO
Royal Jet
Capt. Raman Oberoi
CAPT. RAMAN OBEROI
COO
Falcon Aviation

How have your respective companies developed in Abu Dhabi?

ROB DICASTRI Royal Jet was originally created as an offshoot of Presidential Flight to support the royal fleet and serve the rest of the VVIP market in the UAE. Half of the company is owned by Abu Dhabi Aviation, a state-run public company, and Presidential Flight owns the other 50%. This mixed expertise of public and private sectors, under the guidance of our Chairman, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, has allowed us to have great success over the years and to diversify our operations, serving a larger pool of clients. We still focus on VVIP charter, serving royals, heads of state, and charter demands of the ministries, the government, and the Crown Prince's court. We now also offer medical evacuation services and charter brokerage, growing our fleet to 13 aircraft. In 2015, we signed a contract for pilot and engineer training with the government, specifically the military. We also have our own fixed-base operations with a VIP lounge at Abu Dhabi international airport and an aircraft handling facility. We are recognized for our second-to-none services and are one of the market's leading service providers, which is why Royal Jet has won the World Travel Awards Private Jet Operator of the Middle East for nine years in a row.

RAMAN OBEROI We are part of the UAE's growth, and we have been the aviation services provider for ADNOC for the last eight years. We expect that the reorganizing of ADMA, ZADCO, and other companies of ADNOC will bring in more efficiency and synergy to the sector. We also recently became partner of Dubai South with commencement of a 15,000sqm hangar project that will be built over the following 18 months. This hangar is expected to be used as an MRO for business jets. Dubai South has its very own VVIP terminal, in which we are launching our FBO during MEBAA. We are also introducing helicopter services in Dubai to link Dubai to the rest of the UAE. We have adopted a three-pronged approach in Dubai.

What strategy have you followed to stay competitive as the sector develops and during times of low oil prices?

RD In order to stand head and shoulders above the rest, Royal Jet has always focused on customer service. Today there are almost 700 VIP-configured aircraft in the Middle East alone—a number that has almost doubled in the last 10 years—so the customer has more choice than ever. Royal Jet has always been on top of its game, and this has resulted in a dedicated and loyal customer base that has helped spread the word of our top-quality services. We still must be competitive in order to keep these customers and to survive; however, there is no possibility of adding value via customer service if you do not have a good product in the first place and make sure to continuously strive for better. One way we do this is by adding new aircraft to our fleet when customer demand warrants it. Toward that end, we are proud to announce the arrival of two unique brand new Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) aircraft—delivered in 4Q2016. With the addition of these striking new aircraft, Royal Jet has expanded its BBJ fleet to eight—the largest fleet of BBJs of any operator in the world. We also have 24-hour maintenance to ensure that our aircraft are always in optimum condition.

RO To overcome the present challenges faced by oil companies, we worked as a team with the oil companies so as to help them reduce costs and provide more efficient services. With the UAE oil sector restructuring in the coming years we will continue to work with ADNOC as an aviation services provider and will provide more cost-effective solutions. Oil companies have done detailed studies of their logistics requirements. They are in the process of rationalizing their marine and aviation requirements. Falcon Aviation is working as a team with ADNOC and has introduced new generation Fixed Wing Bombardier Dash 8 Q 400 NG for its island operations. Simultaneously, Falcon Aviation has introduced 19 seater AgustaWestland AW 189 helicopters, which have resulted in cost savings for the oil Companies. In December 2016, we are introducing eight-10 seater AW 169 helicopter for TOTAL ABK operations. This will result in cost savings and more efficient operations for TOTAL ABK.