The 2013 Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) at Shanghai’s second airport, Hongqiao International, held from April 16 to 18, served as a reminder of how far China and the rest of Asia still have to go to reap the benefits of business aviation.
Jet Aviation Dubai has been authorized to provide base and line maintenance for the Boeing 737 700/800, Embraer 135/145, Falcon 900EX EASy, Gulfstream IV/V/450 and Hawker 800/900 in addition to its existing approval for Falcon 7X/2000 line maintenance. Jet Aviation Dubai’s maintenance and FBO location was established in May 2005 as a joint venture company with the AL Mulla Group.
The facility has 45,192 sq ft of hangar space, a workshop area of 10,760 sq ft, and a two-story, 11,300-sq-ft FBO building.
Revenues at General Dynamics’ aerospace division, which includes Gulfstream Aerospace and Jet Aviation, soared to nearly $1.78 billion in the first quarter, a $155 million increase from a year ago, according to financial results the company released yesterday. Segment profit in the quarter also climbed by $39 million, or 14.4 percent, to $310 million, thanks in large part to Gulfstream, though General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic said Jet Aviation “made a contribution in the quarter.”
Deer Jet launched the first fractional aircraft program in China yesterday here at ABACE 2013. It is now selling shares in a Gulfstream G450 and a G550, the latter of which is on display this week in the show’s static display.
“As the largest aircraft charter company in Asia and the first to do aircraft management in China, it is our responsibility to create a fractional share product here,” said Hu Lei, general manager of asset management for Deer Jet. “We also believe it is the right time to offer this type of program in China.”
The number of Gulfstream jets in the Asia Pacific region has more than tripled in the last six years, according to the Savannah, Georgia-based airframer. At its press conference here at ABACE on Monday, Larry Flynn, president of Gulfstream, noted that the number of the company’s large-cabin twinjets in the region has risen from 50 to 169 since 2007. Overall, the manufacturer, which claims 63 percent of the large-cabin market and 65 percent of the super-midsize market, has 208 aircraft based in the area, including 61 in mainland China and 45 in Hong Kong.
With demand for business aircraft weak in traditional markets like the United States, many manufacturers are looking to China for growth.
Beijing-based Deer Jet launched the first fractional aircraft program in China today in Shanghai at ABACE 2013. Deer Jet, which has 30 business jets spanning 13 types in its charter and management fleet, is currently selling shares in a Gulfstream G450 and G550, the latter of which it has on static display this week at the show.
The Deer Jet “Time Share” program is customized for the Chinese market and is targeted to customers who fly between 100 and 300 hours per year. There are two distinct products under Time Share: fractional aircraft shares and block charter.
Gulfstream’s newest jets–the super-midsize G280 and wide-cabin G650–are making their China debut at ABACE, which officially opens tomorrow at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. “We’re excited to bring the G650 and G280, as well as the G150, G450 and G550 to China for our customers to see in person,” said Gulfstream senior vice president of sales and marketing Scott Neal. “Bringing these five aircraft here demonstrates the commitment we’ve made to China and reflects our belief in the strength of this market.”
With the number of business jets in China steadily increasing, the country is facing a shortage of qualified pilots, with virtually all of those attending its flight academies and training schools destined for the commercial aviation sector. Operators in China use a ratio of five pilots for every business jet in operation, according to Christopher Jackson, co-founder and executive director of China-based aviation consultancy Jackson Rosenberg, who sees a need for hundreds of additional business jet pilots in the short to medium term.
Gulfstream Aerospace has been making major investments of its own to boost customer support in China. In November 2012 the U.S. manufacturer opened the country’s first factory-owned business jet service center at Beijing Capital International Airport.