China’s preference for larger, longer-range business jets will remain in place for the foreseeable future, according to market analyst Brian Foley. Data from business aircraft firm Amstat shows that 63 percent of the 198 business jets in mainland China are large-cabin, while only 25 percent are midsize and 12 percent are light.
“Having nearly two-thirds of the fleet concentrated in large aircraft seems lopsided, compared with the worldwide average of 26 percent large-cabin, 34 percent midsize and 40 percent light,” Foley said. China’s fleet does closely mirror the Middle East’s large-cabin, midsize and light jet fleet mix of 68 percent, 22 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
“Like the Middle East, China is faced with long internal distances and a heavy international requirement, both favoring larger and more capable aircraft. Seen in this light, China’s midsize and light jet fleet should not be expected to ‘catch up’ to its larger brethren,” Foley said. “More likely, the present mix will remain relatively constant even as the total fleet size increases.”
While mainland China’s fleet more than doubled in three years and grew 23 percent in the last year, Foley estimate that its next market doubling will take five years. “We’re already seeing China’s market normalizing,” he said. “There’s a finite pool of capable buyers, whose numbers have been cut as the economy continues to moderate.”