The 2013 Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) at Shanghai’s second airport, Hongqiao International, held from April 16 to 18, served as a reminder of how far China and the rest of Asia still have to go to reap the benefits of business aviation.
Beijing Capital Airlines
The strong business aviation presence at Malaysia’s LIMA airshow held last month on the island of Langkawi was evidence that the industry’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region extends well beyond China.
Boeing Business Jets (Chalet 140) is pulling double duty here at ABACE 2013, showcasing the BBJ, the VIP version of the Seattle-based airframer’s 737 airliner, while simultaneously celebrating the 40th year of Boeing commercial sales in China and the delivery of the 1,000th Boeing airliner to the market, a 737-800 purchased by China Eastern Airlines.
Deer Jet launched the first fractional aircraft program in China yesterday here at ABACE 2013. It is now selling shares in a Gulfstream G450 and a G550, the latter of which is on display this week in the show’s static display.
“As the largest aircraft charter company in Asia and the first to do aircraft management in China, it is our responsibility to create a fractional share product here,” said Hu Lei, general manager of asset management for Deer Jet. “We also believe it is the right time to offer this type of program in China.”
The number of Gulfstream jets in the Asia Pacific region has more than tripled in the last six years, according to the Savannah, Georgia-based airframer. At its press conference here at ABACE on Monday, Larry Flynn, president of Gulfstream, noted that the number of the company’s large-cabin twinjets in the region has risen from 50 to 169 since 2007. Overall, the manufacturer, which claims 63 percent of the large-cabin market and 65 percent of the super-midsize market, has 208 aircraft based in the area, including 61 in mainland China and 45 in Hong Kong.
Business aviation in China is a challenging occupation, but Hongkong Jet has tapped into a market where customers expect a high level of service and are willing to pay the extra cost. “Here in Asia, people don’t mind paying extra for better service,” said Chris Buchholz, CEO of Hongkong Jet, which is headquartered in Hong Kong and is the business aviation arm of China’s HNA Group. Hongkong Jet and sister company Deer Jet are exhibiting aircraft here on the static display.
Beijing-based Deer Jet launched the first fractional aircraft program in China today in Shanghai at ABACE 2013. Deer Jet, which has 30 business jets spanning 13 types in its charter and management fleet, is currently selling shares in a Gulfstream G450 and G550, the latter of which it has on static display this week at the show.
The Deer Jet “Time Share” program is customized for the Chinese market and is targeted to customers who fly between 100 and 300 hours per year. There are two distinct products under Time Share: fractional aircraft shares and block charter.
The China Corporate Jet Alliance, founded last year at ABACE as the “China Business Jet Shanghai Alliance” to promote the sustainable growth of the business aviation market in China, inducted four new members today at ABACE 2013.
Airbus Corporate Jets (Chalet 290), the VIP aircraft sales division of Airbus, sees big opportunities for executive transport in the China market and throughout the Asia Pacific region. Here at ABACE 2013 it is highlighting the big-cabin solutions it offers with its family of VIP airliners.
Gulfstream Aerospace has been making major investments of its own to boost customer support in China. In November 2012 the U.S. manufacturer opened the country’s first factory-owned business jet service center at Beijing Capital International Airport.