Iraqi O&G Market Fueling Increased Middle East Charter Demand

Chapman Freeborn Aviation Services has reported a sharp increase in demand for passenger charter flights for the oil and gas industry in Iraq over the past six months.

The global aircraft charter specialist has seen requests for tailored charter flights to places such as Basrah, Baghdad, Najaf, Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk increasing month-on-month in 2009 as the reconstruction efforts in the country are stepped up.

The latest in a series of executive flight operations in recent weeks saw Chapman Freeborn's Dubai office coordinate a multi-leg tour of the regions southern oil fields on behalf of a major Middle East-based energy company.

A small team of senior management figures and their security detail were flown on a Hawker 900XP aircraft from Dubai to Baghdad for meetings, before heading south for an overnight stay and field inspections in the Basrah area.

James Coak, a charter specialist at Chapman Freeborn's Dubai office, said, "Iraq's oil and gas industry is becoming a significant source of new charter business in the Middle East. Like anywhere else, face to face business is crucial in this part of the world -- and many of our clients value the ability to visit multiple locations in a short space of time.

"Added to this are the safety benefits of traveling as a single party and having a fully audited aircraft waiting on stand-by. Unlike scheduled carriers we are also able to work directly with clients' own security details, as well as expediting immigration procedures in many instances."

Chapman Freeborn also supplies larger aircraft types for teams of workers in the energy industry as companies look for secure, mobile access to oil and gas regions.

In addition to an increase in passenger flights to Iraq, Chapman Freeborn has also seen growing demand for cargo charters in and out of Iraq as the reconstruction work continues.

Chapman Freeborn has a global network of 32 offices in 22 countries across five continents. The company coordinated more than 5,000 cargo and passenger charters last year.