VistaJet is expanding its program-based charter network through an alliance with Beijing Airlines, Air China’s private aviation subsidiary. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed here at the ABACE show yesterday sets the stage for VistaJet to establish a base in Beijing and eventually provide point-to-point service within China.
“This is a historic announcement for VistaJet,” said Thomas Flohr, VistaJet’s founder and chairman. “We have been targeting China as a major market for expansion, and our new partnership with Beijing Airlines will allow us to rapidly build a presence in this very fast-growing market, which epitomizes the massive shift over the last decade in global trade from West to East.”
The MOU also covers areas including joint marketing agreements, sales and operational opportunities between VistaJet and Beijing Airlines, which was established in 2011 to serve China’s burgeoning business aviation market.
“In order to promote the development of business aviation under Beijing Airlines, we need to have a premier partner,” said Weng Wei, vice president of Beijing Airlines. “That is why we are very happy to have VistaJet as a partner. We need the advanced experience and capacity of VistaJet.”
Swiss-based VistaJet operates an all-Bombardier fleet of 31 wholly owned aircraft, and has $2 billion worth of aircraft on order, which will expand its fleet to more than 60 Challenger and Global Express mid- and large-cabin, long-range aircraft by 2015. VistaJet believes these aircraft are ideal for many potential customers in China.
“As an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to spend up to three days flying commercially between Harbin and Khartoum,” Flohr said. “Nor are you going to want to fly on some of the airlines that will get you there. With our modern state-of-the-art long-haul fleet, VistaJet is directly connecting locations such as East Asia with East Africa in up to a third of the time, and in style.”
The MOU is expected to lead to a long-term partnership agreement under which VistaJet, which currently bases three aircraft in Asia, would increase the fleet available to serve the China market. The aircraft will be registered in China and flown on Beijing Airlines’ aircraft operator’s certificate. Flohr said both parties have agreed to all terms of that agreement, which awaits only government licensing approval before consummation, and that the first of VistaJet’s planned China-registered fleet, a new Challenger 850, is expected to be in service “well within 2012.”
Also at ABACE, VistaJet said it is successfully implementing its broader strategic expansion across the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries and other fast-developing regions including the Middle East, West Africa and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries.