Within the next five years, economic powerhouse China is expected to see a surge in the number of private jets in Asia. The biggest winners in all this will be the supporting industries such as aircraft chartering and maintenance companies with eyes on new growth opportunities.
According to industry data, China has over 110 private jets and is expected to overtake Australia and Oceania, currently the largest at over 160 private jets. Even among China’s wealthiest individuals private jets are a rare luxury.
China’s market is booming because its registered private jets are a fraction of the 15,000 jets registered in the US, but the world’s second largest economy has 4 times the population of US. Overall, experts say Asia is now the rising market while demand in Europe and the US dries up. One of China’s largest private jet operators, Deer Jet, has an estimated fleet size of around 30, up from about 12 jets just three years ago.
Leithen Francis, Asia editor at Aviation Weekly said: “Unlike the United States where you tend to get an individual or company that’s maybe owned business jets for decades, so they trade in their old business jets to get a new jet, what’s different about China is that 90 per cent of customers are new to business aviation; they have never operate business jets before.” Which is why jet management companies here are seeing a boom.
Secondary industries like aircraft chartering companies are on the rise, as private jet demand grows in the region. Privé International has seen a significant increase over the past year in private jet inquiries which has prompted us to put more focus on the Asian market, not only for charters but for acquisitions as well. The Chinese government has eased regulations on airspace access, enabling jet owners to travel at their own convenience. The country has also announced plans of pumping in some 1.5 trillion yuan (US $230 billion) to build 45 new airports in the next five years. Plus, airspace below 4,000 metres has also been opened up to make space for more operators.
In order to operate an aircraft effectively and safely one needs to have certain number of personnel, a chief engineer, and chief pilot. For a businessman to go out and employ these kinds of people, it’s a lot of effort to go through. Many private jet sales in China are new owners and first time buyers, so the need for aircraft management will see an increase as well.
Not only is the private jet industry having great success – the yachting and luxury car markets are also seeing a boom. This has opened up a new arena for companies to showcase their products. There have been a number of luxury expos, like the exclusive three-day private jet expo which is held at the Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai, China, and the Hainan Rendezvous located in the South China seas, which features a luxurious display of yachts, private jets, fashion, and luxury automobiles. Both these events are only in their second year and have shown tremendous success.