Economic Watch: Signs of recovery inspire China's business aviation

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-19 20:10:16|Editor: ZX
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by Xinhua writer Hu Tao

SHANGHAI, April 19 (Xinhua) -- China has been seeing signs of recovery in its business aviation industry with global players gearing up to boost their presence in the market.

"More frequent business activities stimulate the buying of business aircraft or using charter services thanks to the country's economic growth," said Jenny Lau, chairperson with the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA).

"A more healthy and rational development in China's business aviation is on track following multiple years of slowing growth since 2013 after the previous round of market expansion."

Lau made the remarks at the 2018 Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE), the largest annual business aviation expo in Asia, which runs from April 17 to 19 in Shanghai.


ABACE2018 attracted 170 exhibitors, including almost all the world's major manufacturers of business aircraft with 30 of their flagship models.

Related companies also participate to seek business opportunities from the high-value industrial chain such as systems supply, maintenance, leasing and chartering.

Last year, China was home to 330 jet and 250 turboprop business aircraft. They are supporting business travel, law enforcement, and humanitarian needs, according to AsBAA.

A recent survey showed 61 percent of industry insiders noted aircraft utilization had increased, and a 42-percent increase in the measure since the fourth quarter of 2015.

To global leading manufacturer Gulfstream, the Asia-Pacific continues to be its largest market, said Scott Neal, Gulfstream senior vice president for worldwide sales.

In China, Gulfstream's fleet has grown almost 70 percent since 2013, and 197 Gulfstream aircraft are in service in China.

"While the frenetic pace of activity we've seen over the past several years has tempered, we're seeing initial signs of potential uptick in activity," said Neal.

Deliveries continued with its fleet in the region growing by almost 6 percent in 2017.


"We see a market evolution in China's business aviation and forecast a positive outlook for its continuous growth," said Andy Gill, senior director of business and general aviation in Asia-Pacific for Honeywell Aerospace.

"Surveys indicate that Chinese customers show stronger brand preference. Aircraft with big cabins and long range remain the mainstream of sales, while more medium and light business aircraft are coming to the market for private owners and charter companies," Gill said. < Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) is also seeing more demand for ultra-large business jets as Chinese operators travel with larger teams and travel farther, said BBJ president Gregory E. Laxton.

Thirty BBJ aircraft operated in China and the company was confident in the market's future.

"We believe that the Chinese economy will continue to grow and prosper," said Laxton.

Japan's Honda Aircraft Company brought the HondaJet, a light business jet to ABACE 2018, to tap the Chinese market.

"Young entrepreneurs are more aggressively using efficient and comfortable vehicles and services," said Honda Aircraft president and CEO Dr. Michimasa Fujino.

He disclosed that, Honda had received eight orders from the Chinese market in the past six months from private buyers and charter operators.


Thanks to China's economic growth, more newly wealthy entrepreneurs want more efficient, convenient and comfortable transport.

"The essence of business aircraft as efficient transportation is more and more acknowledged by Chinese entrepreneurs, whose footprint and businesses are extending worldwide," Lau said.

The Chinese government was determined to foster growth of the general aviation industry, including business aviation, by building 200 new general airports and further opening its low altitude airspace.

"China is quite a young but very promising market,"said Benoit Defforge, president of Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ).

To better support emerging business aircraft owners and operators, ACJ has launched a financial support scheme, with some services tailored to Chinese customers.

"We are positive about the Chinese market due to the value of our business aircraft," Defforge said.