China Awakening to Business Aviation

 - November 9, 2010, 11:04 AM

Business aviation market analyst Brian Foley is bullish on prospects for the business aviation market this decade in China. With its large geographical size and matching population, as well as skyrocketing wealth, he said many in the industry hope the region will soon unleash an “insatiable demand” for new business aircraft, opening an enormous new market. “This is true in part,” Foley said, “but is not quite realistic yet.” For perspective, he noted that there are currently about 18,000 business jets registered worldwide, and China and Hong Kong are home to only 126 of them–just 0.7 percent of the worldwide fleet. The Chinese business jet fleet is not only tiny in terms of absolute numbers but also minuscule when compared with the size and strength of the country’s economy, “So there is ample room for future growth.” China has done a lot to make the country more business-aviation friendly in the last few years, Foley noted, including shortening the time required for flight approvals and lowering the tax rate on new aircraft. But airport and airspace infrastructure remain as obstacles. Regardless, Foley contends China will be one of the fastest-growing regions for business jets, but from a relatively small base. “We think China will account for 3 to 4 percent of worldwide fleet uptake over the next decade,” he said, “which is roughly five times what it is today.”