Hong Kong’s Metrojet and California-based Solairus Aviation have formed a strategic alliance to offer aircraft management and charter services in Asia. The two companies, respectively holders of Hong Kong and U.S. air operator’s certificates, provide owners with the ability to offer their aircraft for charter to offset aircraft ownership costs.
At the moment, the charter market in Asia is in its infancy as there are few available business jets, and most local owners prefer not to share their space, saidMetrojet CEO Bjorn Naf. “These are people’s living rooms and bedrooms and they feel uncomfortable about letting others in,” he told AIN.
“This is like the charter market in the U.S. in the 1970s,” said Solairus COO Greg Peterson. Initially no one wanted to share their aircraft, but then they saw the benefits of offsetting their costs. I see the Asian market evolving at a much faster pace, however, as people see the benefits of flying privately while gaining some revenues.”
With an anticipated 60 new business jets coming into China this year, there is also great need for experienced management companies to take care of aircraft. There is a dearth of skilled personnel in the region, so bringing in talent from outside is crucial, agreed Solairus CEO Dan Drohan. “Both of our companies have a responsibility of guardianship, and we will use our experience to develop the market in a safe way.”
Solairus uses a decentralized management model whereby each aircraft comes with its own management team and crew at its home base, rather than being managed out of the corporate headquarters. Both companies anticipate developing a revenue-sharing model, but stress that they are at an early stage in their relationship. “We were looking for a strong partner and Solairus fits the bill,” concluded Naf.