The People’s Republic of China (PRC) holds 57 percent of the 336-strong business jet fleet of the Greater China area, while Hong Kong holds 33 percent; Macau is in third place, with 5 percent; and the Republic of China (Taiwan) has 3 percent of the fleet, according to a report released by Asian Sky Group (ASG), a Hong Kong-based business aviation consulting group. The company announced its formal launch at ABACE last year.
Gulfstream jets account for 36 percent of the total Greater China fleet and Bombardier is in second place with 29 percent, according to the report. The other OEMs’ market shares of the Greater China fleet include Cessna (10 percent), Hawker Beechcraft (8 percent), Dassault Falcon (6 percent), Airbus (5 percent), Boeing (3 percent) and Embraer (3 percent). Large-cabin business jets and bigger models account for 70 percent of the Greater China fleet, and are equally divided between China and Hong Kong. The numbers reflect data at the end of 2012.
The Greater China business jet fleet increased by 101 aircraft during 2012–a growth rate of 40 percent. Large, super-large, ultra-long range and corporate airliners accounted for 91 percent of the increase. Gulfstream added the most aircraft (38), comprising 22 G550s, 12 G450s and four G200s, while a GIV-SP and GV left the area, for a net gain of 36 Gulfstreams. Bombardier added the second most aircraft (31), primarily Challenger 605s (13), plus nine others and nine Globals. Three Challengers left China, for a net gain of 28 Bombardier business jets in the Greater China fleet.
In the PRC alone, the number of jets, overall, has increased from 28 in 2007 to 193 at the end of last year, during which time 60 aircraft were added to the fleet, according to ASG’s calculations. This represents an annual growth rate of 40 percent from 2011 to 2012. ASG reported that the PRC has seen the growth rate of its business jet fleet decrease unevenly over the last five years: from 64.3 percent in 2008, to 32.6 percent in 2009, to 55.7 percent in 2010, to 45.3 percent in 2011 and to 39.9 percent in 2012. It is significant that even in 2008, a down year for business aviation in most of the world, the PRC experienced nearly a 33-percent increase in its business jet fleet. However, as time goes on and the PRC’s fleet grows larger, it will obviously become harder to maintain such high rates of growth.
Meanwhile, annual business jet movements in the Republic of China increased from 8,569 in 2009 to 9,512 in 2010 and jumped to 14,507 in 2011, a 53-percent increase from 2010 to 2011.
ASG’s Increased Presence in China
In September last year, Asian Sky Group and Avic International Aero-Development Corp. (Avic ADE) signed a strategic agreement to source pre-owned business aircraft, both airplanes and helicopters, from key global markets for resale in China, and to handle the resale of aircraft owned in Mainland China to buyers in the global market. Fu Yumin, ADE vice president, said at the signing ceremony that cooperation between the two entities would enable both to leverage each other’s respective local and international resources to customers waiting to buy aircraft in China.
ASG’s managing director, Jay Shaw, said, “Avic ADE’s 15 years of rich experience in the China market and its customer base encompassing the Chinese general aviation, law enforcement and government sectors, will immediately translate to added value for the business.”
Earlier in 2012, ASG had announced another strategic partnership, this one with Avpro, Inc. of Annapolis, Maryland, in the U.S. Avpro also specializes in aircraft sales and acquisitions, averaging about 90 transactions per year and valued at some $1.5 billion. “What attracted Avpro to Asian Sky Group,” according to Chris Ellis, Avpro managing partner, “is its highly qualified and experienced management team, its coverage of Asia and the solid financial support [it] enjoys from its backers: Seacor Capital (Asia) and Avion Pacific.”
Seacor Capital (Asia) Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S.-based Seacor Holdings, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Seacor Holdings Inc., founded in 1989 and headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the parent of a global, diversified family of companies. It reported “net income attributable to Seacor Holdings” of $61.2 million for 2012 and of $41.1 million in 2011. Seacor Holdings lists Asia Sky Group, Avion Pacific and Hawker Pacific as “industrial aviation services businesses in Asia,” of which it holds “non-controlling investments.” In February, Seacor Holdings spun-off its interest in Era Group, one of the largest helicopter operators in the world, making Era an independent public company. o