Minsheng Financial Leasing held a signing ceremony on April 11 for the lease of three Embraer Legacy 650s to Jet Edge, marking its first such agreement involving U.S. operations. Jet Edge took delivery of the first of the Legacys at the end of March. All three of the super-midsize business jets are expected to enter service in the next three to four months, said Jet Edge CEO Bill Papariella.
The Legacys continue a rapid growth for the Los Angeles-based operator, which now has 55 aircraft in its fleet but is in the midst of adding 10 more. The agreement begins a partnership between Minsheng and Jet Edge that might lead to additional aircraft and different models, Papariella said. He indicated that Jet Edge is eyeing Gulfstream models next.
The company has expanded into a range of services, including a $100 million finance portfolio. Papariella indicated that while Jet Edge will operate the aircraft, they eventually will be sold. The plan would be to replenish the airplanes as that occurred, he said.
Jet Edge, which formed a partnership with Asia Jet in 2012 to establish a base in Hong Kong, had also been developing a relationship with Minsheng executives, culminating in the lease. For Minsheng, the agreement gives it an entry into the U.S. leasing market and continues a strategy to become a dominant global player in the aircraft leasing market, said Wan Xiaofang, president of Minsheng Financial Leasing.
Not only does the agreement with Jet Edge mark a first for a Chinese leasing company, but it represents the trust building between Chinese and U.S. companies, Wan told reporters at the ABACE show in Shanghai.
Minsheng Financial Leasing has built a portfolio of 300 aircraft, with business aircraft accounting for almost half of that total. Wan noted this is part of a larger effort to foster development of the industry in China from the OEM, to the supplier and the operator. But the company is also focusing on international expansion, she said.