ABACE Convention News

NetJets China Expects To Start Operations in Early 2014

 - April 14, 2013, 8:15 PM
Under a joint venture with the People’s Republic of China, NetJets-China plans to manage and charter aircraft, such as this Challenger 300, that are wholly owned by customers, rather than introducing fractional ownership.

NetJets says that it has made good progress with its joint venture in the People’s Republic of China since announcing its entry into the country’s private aviation market during last year’s ABACE. It will begin by managing and chartering aircraft that are wholly owned by customers, rather than launching into fractional ownership as it did several years ago in the U.S. and Europe. However, fractional aircraft and card services may be added later as the market for private aviation services in China continues to develop, it noted.

“We are continuing to make great progress in gaining approval from the Chinese government to establish operations in China,” NetJets told AIN. “We are on target now to have approval in the first quarter of 2014.”

NetJets-China Business Aviation Ltd., which opened its operational headquarters in Zhuhai this past November, is a joint venture between U.S.-based NetJets; a consortium of Chinese investors led by Hony Jinsi Investment Management (Beijing) Ltd., a subsidiary of Chinese private-equity firm Hony Capital; and Fung Investments, which is owned by the families of Dr. Victor Fung and Dr. William Fung, the controlling shareholders of the Li & Fung group of companies. The latter are involved in supply chain management, as well as the wholesale and retail sales of consumer products.

The program aircraft will feature a variety of business aircraft types, “each tailored to suit the needs and tastes of the aircraft owners.” After obtaining necessary licenses from Chinese authorities, the company plans to expand its fleet as new customers join the management program, though growth will depend on the continued growth and development of the Chinese aviation market, among other factors. “There are some things the Chinese need to do in terms of opening airspace and building infrastructure,” said NetJets, “but we’re encouraged that the Chinese leadership has made these things a priority.”

As well as the aircraft management services for customers who own their own aircraft, NetJets-China plans to provide charter air transportation services using selected aircraft from its managed fleet.

Meanwhile, the company recently introduced a new product for China-based travelers, both individual and corporate, called The Private Jet Travel Card. This allows Chinese customers to access NetJets’ service in the continental U.S., the EU and Switzerland.

When operations begin, NetJets-China said it would also “welcome customers from the NetJets programs in the United States and Europe to fly within China on the aircraft in the program, subject to availability.”

As of last month, NetJets-China said it has eight employees and several other offers of employment are due to be made over the coming months. Eric Wong, who heads NetJets-China as vice chairman, said, “The joint venture aims to meet the growing demand in China for exceptional service quality and high safety standards in private jet management services for both corporate and personal use…China continues to grow and represents a great opportunity for our industry. We have great partners there, and we couldn’t be more excited about the future for us in this market.”