Deer Jet, Asia’s largest business jet operator, is gradually transforming from a regional operator to a global one as it approaches its 20th anniversary. The Beijing-based company now has a fleet of 85 aircraft, based not only in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, but also in the U.S., Dubai and Moscow.
According to Zhang Peng, who was promoted to president of the company in August, Deer Jet’s international flight operations have increased by 80 percent over 2013, now up to 6,800 annual flight hours to more than 300 airports worldwide. “In the U.S. market alone, Deer Jet had 1,409 flight hours and 265 takeoffs and landings, and we flew to 46 destinations,” said Peng on Monday at NBAA 2014. “Over the past year we have come to notice signs of recovery in the U.S. market.”
Deer Jet (Booth 4670) is also China’s largest FBO operator, with four bases. Peng told AIN that number is expected to swell by the end of the year with the addition of three new bases in Xi’an, Guilin and Nanying. The company is also awaiting permission to take over operations of an unused facility at Bejing Capital Airport. Next year, it expects to open three more FBOs in China, as it also looks to expand its FBO brand outside China with another FBO in a yet-unnamed Asian country.
Domestically, Deer Jet accounts for 70 percent of China’s flights, giving the company unique experience in aircraft handling. The company last month spun off its ground handling services division into a separate wholly-owned company called Honor Jet which will provide services for international as well as domestic flights, not only for the company’s fleet, but for those of other operators.
In addition, the company announced that Honeywell Aerospace has designated it as its first authorized APU service center in China. Deer Jet will provide maintenance on the units, which are installed in more than 200 aircraft in China. “The in-country APU line maintenance capability will deliver significant benefits to the user, business and general aviation market in China and help support China as it rises in the global value chain,” noted Peng.
Deer Jet also signed an MOU with U.S.-based MAS Group with the aim of establishing cooperation in the fields of aircraft sales and parts supply, as well as the recruitment and training of foreign pilots. “This is a great day for Mission Air Support,” said company president and CEO Gary Bannister. “This is probably going to be the biggest deal we’ve ever worked.” MAS will dedicate several employees to the development of business in China and they will help Deer Jet with its communications and logistics in the U.S.