Light, Midsize Jet Activity To Rise As Middle East Economy Transforms, Embraer Says

MEBAA Praetor 600
An Embraer Praetor 600 on static display at the 2022 Middle East Business Aviation Association show.
Credit: Molly McMillin

DUBAI—The Middle East and Africa regions may be a small part of Embraer’s market share for executive jets, but it’s an important one. 

“The area, especially in the Middle East, is more prone and more biased to large cabin ultra-long-range aircraft,” says Steve Friedrich, Embraer Executive Jets chief commercial officer. “But because of the development over the last 25 years, we’re seeing more and more activity and demand for light, mid and super-mid aircraft. Particularly the Praetor 600 has proven itself well suited for that Dubai–London route.”

Embraer was an exhibitor at the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) show Dec. 6-8 in Dubai.

With the economies of the Middle East becoming more interconnected on a regional basis, Embraer is seeing demand rise for light jets for intra-regional flights, Friedrich says. “The other thing we’re also excited about is the potential for India and what we’re seeing from that.”

In addition, Embraer has seen consistent demand from various nations inside the African continent, although the numbers are not large. 

But he has “high hopes” for the Middle East, Friedrich says. “I think we’re going to see a lot more as the economy continues to transform from a natural resources extraction economy into a much more global services based and even manufacturing-based economy. I’m seeing long-term potential that should be beneficial for us. And that’s why we’re focusing in on the region right now.” 

The eye is on the future,” Friedrich says. 

Over the next few years, more light, mid-size and super-mid-size aircraft will come into service in the region, he said.

“I think that will be important and as it acts as an interconnection from an interregional,” he says. Embraer’s Praetor 500 and Praetor 600 have a reach into Europe from the region. 

As a result, “I expect significant growth,” Friedrich says. “I expect to see exponential growth over the next 10 years.”

Embraer is seeing diversified business-related use of its aircraft along with owner-pilots who operate aircraft in the region as well as an uptick in the services business. 

“It’s not just the oil-based economy anymore or the natural gas or the natural resources,” Friedrich says. And “as the area becomes more tourist centric, that also drives people going back and forth, not just for business but also for leisure.”

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.