With precious little sign of a meaningful economic recovery in the main Western economies of North America and Europe, the business aviation industry is pursuing growth more intently than ever in the emerging markets of the East. Nowhere epitomizes these expectations quite like China, with its soaring corporate and private wealth.
There is no doubt that China’s business aviation community has expanded at an impressive rate in the past few years, but this has been achieved from a low base and in global terms the size of its fleet (around 150 jets registered in China by the end of last year) remains fairly modest. Questions remain as to the extent to which shortcomings in infrastructure and somewhat user-unfriendly government restrictions on aircraft ownership and operations are blocking China from fulfilling its potential. Also now in question is whether China’s epic economic growth (with GDP still rising at more than 9 percent annually) could be pegged back by its vulnerability to wider, global problems.
The emergence of business aviation in China isn’t just a boon to the country’s rising entrepreneurial class and to the industry itself. With the People’s Republic being such a land of opportunity for business leaders throughout the world, there is more and more motivation to fly into and within this vast country. This has been a tough proposition, but it’s getting somewhat more straightforward.