The Greater Chinese business jet fleet grew 21 percent last year, to 371 aircraft, according to the latest data compiled by Hong Kong-based aircraft sales, management, charter and consultancy firm Asian Sky Group. From 2007 to 2013, the fleet expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 34 percent, significantly more than the global rate of 5 percent.
Asian Sky Group said demand for business jets in Greater China is largely driven by robust economic growth, the rising number of wealthy individuals, fatter corporate profits, successful listing of public companies and government support. Factors tempering growth include airspace restrictions, limited aviation support infrastructure, a shortage of locally licensed pilots, the difficulty of qualifying for an air operator certificate and the hardship of taxes.
“As China continues to ease its airspace regulations, more opportunity for smaller-sized business aircraft mainly used for domestic flights should appear in the future,” Asian Sky said. “However, the current preference for large-cabin [aircraft] is expected to remain strong in the short term.” The Greater Chinese fleet is “strongly dominated” by large-cabin and long-range aircraft, which account for 40 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
Overall, Asian Sky Group said it expects high growth to continue in 2014 as the business jet market in Greater China develops and matures.