Aircraft management and charter providers NetJets China and Business Aviation Asia (BAA) today announced a strategic equity partnership that would see BAA, a China Minsheng Investment subsidiary, join Hony Jinsi Investment Capital and Fung Investments as shareholders with U.S. fractional ownership group NetJets. The deal, subject to approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the CAAC, would see BAA acquire a 25-percent stake in NetJets China and become its second largest shareholder. NetJets will retain its 49 percent stake in the joint venture.
“BAA is one of the biggest business jet managers and operators in the Asia Pacific, with well-established operations in the China region,” said Eric Wong, vice chairman/general manager of NetJets China. “I trust the strategic partnership between NetJets and BAA will bring about significant benefits to the development of business jet aviation services in China and the surrounding region. With their experience in China, we believe that our joint venture will be able to operate efficiently, safely and be able to provide a very high standard of service to the local market as well as to the customers in the region.”
At a press conference at the ABACE show in Shanghai, Wong noted that business aviation is now becoming even more popular, due to the growing population of high net worth individuals. That, combined with efforts such as better regulation of flight plans and the opening up of the airspace, all bode well for the industry, he said.
“All these trends make us even more confident in the market potential of business aviation, not just in China, but also in the Asia Pacific region,” said Wong. “That’s why we have been expanding our fleet and recruiting more members, to provide even better and more diversified business aviation service to our Chinese clients.”
Shenzhen-based BAA has been in operation since 2006. In addition to Chinese authorization, it also holds Cayman Islands approval, through its subsidiaries in Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands. “Currently BAA boasts a fleet of 56 aircraft with a staff of 500 people,” said David Du, BAA’s deputy general manager. He said that all of the major business jet manufacturers are represented, adding, “We have set up 12 operational bases in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. It is fair to say that BAA has been fully ready to grow bigger and stronger.”
Once the transaction is approved, BAA general manager Chang Qiu Sheng noted, the company will expand its aircraft management business, while simultaneously launching a membership-card program to provide flexibility in satisfying customer needs.
NetJets lays claim to the world’s biggest private jet fleet, including more than 700 aircraft. Formed in 2012, Zhuhai-based NetJets China currently operates a fleet of three business jets in the region, including a pair of Hawker 800XPs in Guangzhou and a Global 5000 in Hong Kong. It received authorization for charter services in China in 2014.