Aabar to invest $20 million in US aviation firm Xojet

Private jet sales expected to rebound this year, says European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. (EB FILE)

Abaar Investments would be investing $20 million (Dh73.4m) in the US-based private aviation firm Xojet, with intentions of launching a UAE-based joint venture private company.

In a statement on the Abu Dhabi bourse, the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, Aabar Investments, said it had "agreed to invest $20m for shares" in Xojet, a private airline company offering services to business and leisure travellers in the US and to other destinations.

It added: "Aabar and Xojet are intending to join hands to create a UAE-based firm that will provide first class private aviation services to various destinations within the Mena (Middle East North Africa) countries."

Aabar did not divulge additional details on the deal.

The private jet industry in the Middle East did not suffer the impact of financial downturn to the extent that the commercials aviation sector did. European plane maker Airbus has also forecast a private jet industry comeback in 2010. It said recently private jet sales are expected to rebound in 2010.

Meanwhile, since 2004, Airbus has sold 160 corporate jets to governments, VIPs, billionaires and corporates, of which nearly half have been purchased by the buyers from this region.

Saudi Arabia, as atNovember last year, held the lion's share with 20 orders, followed by the UAE and Qatar with 10 each.

"The Middle East is a traditional market that has sustained its growth despite the one of the worst downturn," Francois Chazelle, Vice-President of Executive and Private Aviation Airbus Middle East, recently told Emirates Business.

"Overall, 2009 had been a slower year for Airbus, but we are confident the markets should rebound by the second quarter of 2010."

He added that Airbus is predicting tremendous growth in China with 20 private aircraft already sold there, with the potential visible in 30 other operators.

Meanwhile, Asia is expected to lead the recovery in the global aviation sector and according to the world's second largest private jet company, Vistajet, the Middle East is key to its expansion.

 

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