Singapore Air Show

After 10 years, Jet Aviation sees business double at S’pore FBO

 - December 6, 2006, 10:37 AM

Plenty of major players have voiced high expectations for the eventual flowering of business aviation in the Asia/Pacific region, but Jet Aviation is one of just a few that has put its money where its mouth is. The Swiss-based group established a bridgehead facility here in Singapore a decade ago, and has stayed the course despite receiving little encouragement from the marketplace–until recently.

The Jet Aviation FBO offers full handling, maintenance, aircraft management and executive charter. Maintenance generates about 85 percent of sales, with another 10 percent coming from handling and the rest in charter and aircraft management.

Last week the company announced that during 2005 it achieved a 50-percent increase in maintenance and handling activities at its Singapore facility. It expects this trend to continue during 2006.

Jet Aviation Singapore’s vice president and general manager, Thomas Ruedisuehli, feels he has landed in his new job at the right time. The company opened its facility on Singapore’s Seletar Airport in 1995, and the first nine years were hard times. “In 1997, all the aircraft we had in management were sold, and the return of activity was slow. But during the last 18 months, business has been picking up.

New Managed Jets

Also last week the company announced the addition of two Bombardier Challenger 604s and a pair of Gulfstream G550s to its management fleet in Asia. The aircraft will be operated from its Hong Kong facility, where it is also adding more staff. Jet Aviation now manages a total of 11 jets in Asia.

The company already offers a Bombardier Learjet 45, a Challenger 604 and a Global Express for charter from its managed fleet in Singapore, as well as a Gulfstream G200. Ruedisuehli pointed out that executive aviation is not as developed here as might be expected in prosperous area like Singapore and its neighboring countries. This is mainly, he believes, because of the excellent airline connections in the region and a tendency of affluent Asians to avoid ostentation.

However, according to manufacturers, Asian customers have ordered a considerable number of executive jets and the market is expected to expand in the near future. The company services an average of four executive jets each week from neighboring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, Japan, India, New Zealand and China. About 60 percent of the customers come from Asia, while the rest are in transit from other continents.

Jet Aviation Singapore is a factory authorized service center for Cessna, Bombardier, Gulfstream and Boeing Business Jets aircraft, and has trained maintenance personnel for the Raytheon and Dassault Falcon products. The company (Stand A1102) also maintains and repairs engines and avionics from major manufacturers, and operates a paint shop capable of accommodating aircraft up to the size of a Gulfstream V or Global Express.

Jet Aviation’s Singapore facility covers 50,815 sq ft and employs 43 full-time staff members, plus up to 16 temporary workers at peak times.

The Swiss manager sees Seletar Airport–on the north side of this island state–as an ideal location for his company. “It’s a dedicated executive airport without airline traffic. It offers easy access for executive travelers and is close to the center,” he explained.