ExecuJet boosts its profile in Asia

 - November 30, 2010, 7:07 AM

ExecuJet Aviation is expanding its footprint in the Asian business aviation services market with a new joint venture with China’s Tianjin Haite Aircraft Engineering. The partners are to establish an aircraft maintenance and management operation at Tianjin Binhai Airport, about 75 miles from the center of Beijing, and the new facility is slated to open by August.

The new ExecuJet Haite Aviation Services China company is now applying for both a Chinese Part 135 aircraft operating certificate (AOC) and a Part 145 maintenance certificate. Initially, it expects to provide maintenance to more than 40 business aircraft each year in a 43,000-sq-ft facility that will be able to house two large and three smaller aircraft simultaneously.

The market for aircraft management is potentially large, as all private and corporate aircraft in China have to be operated under a commercial AOC. To hold an AOC in China, a foreign operator has to have a local joint-venture partner. The main focus of the new management operation will likely be long-range jets made by manufacturers including Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer.

ExecuJet has already been approached by one aircraft manufacturer with a view to providing management services for Chinese clients. “The aircraft management sector in China is a competitive environment, but the handful of management companies established there have already reached capacity,” ExecuJet Asia managing director Graeme Duckworth told AIN.

FBO Operation Planned

Initially, the new operation will employ some 50 people. ExecuJet intends to run the facility to the same standards as its various other business aviation support operations in Europe, Dubai, South Africa, Australia and Mexico.

The next step for ExecuJet Haite will be to establish an FBO at Tianjin to provide handling for visiting aircraft and their crew. The lounge for the maintenance facility is sized to accommodate the immigration and customs facilities that would be required for this.

According to Duckworth, growing numbers of business aircraft are using Tianjin Binhai as an alternative arrival point for the Chinese capital to Beijing Capital Airport, which has become busy with airline traffic. Tianjin is connected to Beijing by a high-speed rail line that can get passengers into the city center in just 30 minutes.

“The joint venture is not only a result of the superior location and first-class investment environment of Tianjin Airport, but also the integrity, professionalism and international insight exhibited by the Tianjin government and our partners,” said Duckworth. “We believe that the local knowledge provided by Tianjin Haite and the international business aviation expertise of ExecuJet provides for an excellent partnership in this region.”

ExecuJet already has a sales office in Beijing. The group manages 150 business jets worldwide and holds AOCs in eight other countries. It has six FBOs–in Berlin, Zurich, Paris, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Dubai.

Tianjin Haite is a subsidiary of Sichuan Haite Hi-Tech and is involved mainly in overhauling airliners, helicopters and some general aviation aircraft. It is expanding its heavy maintenance capability and will mainly provide overhaul support for ExecuJet’s maintenance role.

Separately, ExecuJet Aviation is moving into a new facility in Malaysia, having entered a joint venture with local company Dnest Aviation Services. The Switzerland-based business aviation services group ended its existing arrangements with the Subang SkyPark FBO and moved into new premises on the other side of Kuala Lumpur’s Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (also known as Subang).

The new partnership with Dnest will initially focus on providing maintenance, repair and overhaul support for business aircraft. ExecuJet’s Malaysian subsidiary was recently approved by Bombardier to provide line and AOG support for its jets, and the company can also service Gulfstream aircraft.

Duckworth told AIN that ExecuJet has plans for growth in the Asian market. Further expansion could center on Singapore, where it already has an office.