Aviation Business Middle East: Interview with Patrick Margetson-Rushmore

What are LEA’s plans for the Middle East?
We’ve been actively exploring the Middle East business aviation market since 2012 as we are very open to the idea of establishing a partnership or creating a full joint venture with a local operator in the region.

We have already held significant meetings with key operators in the Middle East which have been useful in helping us gain a more detailed understanding of the workings of its business aviation industry. We’re looking forward to finding the right partner in order to invest in the region and are prepared to be patient to ensure any agreement is right for both parties.

How many aircraft do you manage in Europe and worldwide?
At present, LEA operates a 29-aircraft business jet fleet based around London, Athens, Paris, Nice, Moscow and Tallinn. The fleet ranges from the entry-level Cessna Citation Mustang up to the Dassault Falcon 2000LX. In 2013 alone, we’ve added a Phenom 300, Falcon 2000LX, Legacy 650 and Challenger 300 to the fleet.

Could you give us a little more background on your company?
LEA was founded in 1996 by Amanda Galanopoulos, George Galanopoulos (now managing director), and myself. Over the last 17 years, we have established LEA as one of Europe’s largest executive aircraft charter operators. We created the company because we saw great potential for a really professionally run executive air charter business. We started out with Piper Navajos and Senecas and now we operate a large business jet fleet with a wide range of aircraft to suit our clients’ varied needs. We’re very proud to have been named Best General Aviation Operator on three occasions in the Baltic Air Charter Association’s Excellence Awards, which is testament to our dedication to providing the best possible level of service in aircraft charter, management, consultancy and sales.

In your opinion, what is the ideal location for LEA to start operations in the Middle East?
The location of any business is going to be key. The UAE is the powerhouse of the region and as such, Dubai or Abu Dhabi seem a natural choice for potentially basing any new operation. We need to ensure that wherever we choose to base our Middle Eastern business, it provides the best springboard for long-term growth.

What kind of facilities are you looking for?
It is important that we have good access to service providers for things like fuel, permits and FBO facilities. We will also need facilities that reflect the high standards of professionalism that underpins LEA’s reputation.

For more information on chartering a private jet, visit www.flylea.com.

Published in: Aviation Business Middle East October 2013

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