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Ocean Sky says relationships are key for Middle East evacuations

Aviation - 17th March 2011

March 17, 2011, London – Leading international private jet company Ocean Sky, now with a flight brokerage office in Dubai, says choosing the right local operator for an evacuation flight will be important if civil unrest spreads further across the Middle East.

Neil Backhouse, Ocean Sky’s Dubai office manager, says: “The unrest in some Middle East countries has led to a number of evacuation flights. We can expect that demand to continue if protests escalate or spread to other countries. A critical factor in arranging such flights is securing the necessary landing permits, which can be difficult at short notice unless you know the national aviation authorities. As personal relationships continue to have great importance in the Middle East, we would advise anyone booking an evacuation flight to choose an operator who can call on existing links throughout the region.”

Backhouse says careful thought is also advisable in the choice of evacuation flight crews. “Nationality is always a sensitive topic in the Middle East, and particularly at times of political stress. The passports carried by crew members may influence how a flight is treated by certain national authorities. Conceivably, in some countries, a British or US passport could create delays or issues that an Arab or Australian passport might not.”

According to Backhouse, who has worked in the Middle East for a decade, this sort of local knowledge is essential for flight brokers. “Charter customers want their travel organised smoothly and, usually, at short notice. This is particularly true in an evacuation, when delays or disappointments can cause frayed tempers or worse. The broker therefore has a special responsibility to understand the Middle East’s business culture and the measures necessary for the customer’s objectives to be met.”