A Japanese industrial trading company and a U.S. aviation management and services firm doing business on Guam have joined forces at NBAA ’02 to market shares in Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) to companies and individuals throughout Asia.
Representatives of Nissho Iwai Corp. (NIC) and ACI Pacific are circulating through the Orange County Convention Center spreading the word about ShareJet, a concept tailored to the business jet operational environment of the Far East. “The use of business aircraft is not yet very widespread or well understood in Asia,” said Terry Habeck, president and CEO of ACI Pacific, which will manage the aircraft in ShareJet at its base at Guam International Airport (the former NAS Agana).
Unlike a fractional program, ShareJet would sell shares in a BBJ–up to four per airplane–giving owners use of one specific tail number. ACI plans to hangar the jets on Guam, where all maintenance and flight dispatching would take place. ACI will provide U.S.-certified flight crews, licensed A&P mechanics and avionics technicians; manage the aircraft operation; and make the necessary (and sometimes complicated) arrangements for flights into various Asian countries. The BBJs will be under U.S. registry and operated under FAA Part 121 or 135 rules.
In the event–which Habeck said will be rare–that two shareowners wish to fly their airplane at the same time, an alternative aircraft will be available. Initially that will be a Gulfstream V. Habeck said scheduling conflicts are not likely because of tight slot reservation requirements at many Asian airports, especially in Japan. “Flights are usually scheduled a month in advance. ‘On demand’ means a week,” he said.
NIC, which offers the full line of Boeing commercial aircraft and parts of the Bombardier product line, will arrange the BBJ sales to ShareJet and its customers. The Tokyo-based firm has more than 60 offices in the Asia-Pacific Rim region, and more than 200 offices globally. This, said Yuji Nohara of the NIC Machinery Company’s commercial airplanes department, will facilitate initial ShareJet sales and give owners access to NIC representatives in their areas whom they know personally and can consult regarding any issue relating to their aircraft.
Habeck said Guam is an ideal site for such an operation. “It’s only about a two-hour flight to Japan and within easy BBJ range of the whole Asian market.”
Manfred Schindler, v-p of sales, for Boeing Business Jets, added, “We fully expect our current fleet of four BBJs in the Asia-Pacific region to grow dramatically over the next several years. This partnership concept is a perfect complement to direct sales when the principal cannot justify 100-percent ownership of a BBJ but desires the comfort and capabilities of a BBJ.”
Minoru Ohba, general manager of the NIC Commercial Airplanes Department, added that the ShareJet venture partners planned to put into the program at least one BBJ a year, but said, “It looks like we will exceed that.” The long-term goal is to place one or two ShareJet BBJs in each Asian country through NIC’s local offices.