Bizav Market Boom Overflies China

 - January 11, 2022, 11:53 AM

Business aviation is flourishing globally amid the pandemic as people seek safer travel alternatives, with a notable exception: China. Not only is this boom bypassing China but the market there is “very depressed,” according to Jason Liao, NBAA’s chief Asian representative and chairman and CEO of China business aviation group CBAJET.

Liao said the Chinese business aviation market has been beset by a triple-whammy of Covid travel restrictions, deleveraging in real estate, and crackdown on the high-tech and education industries. The country’s zero-tolerance Covid policy has “pretty much closed Chinese borders,” he noted, adding that nonscheduled flights require “almost impossible to obtain” approval from the central government.

Meanwhile, China’s strict control on housing purchase and mortgages, as well as lending to developers, in response to runaway property prices has choked the real estate industry, which includes a “very large number of business aircraft owners,” said Liao. And the countries crackdown on the high-tech and educational industries has resulted in “huge fines” to companies such as Alibaba, Meituan, Didi, and Tencent whose principals own business aircraft.

Liao is nonetheless optimistic, saying “I believe the above obstacles to the business aviation industry will be gradually removed” this year. He envisions “more accommodating” monetary policies and a gradual opening of the Chinese borders to international travel after the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the 20th Party Congress in March.

“The Chinese business aviation market will come back strongly due to strong demand and rapid wealth creation,” he maintained. “China is a huge country that needs efficient air transportation and it has the greatest number of billionaires in the world.”