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Jetcraft says nation's business aviation market is taking off

By Lin Wenjie in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-12 08:20

China is embracing the business aviation market, with a series of new policies which aim to make it quicker and easier for individual buyers to acquire aircraft.

Eyeing the large potential in the market, Jetcraft Corp, an international business aircraft broker, sees China as its most important market in Asia.

"Asia is the second-largest market for us, just behind the United States. And China is the largest market in the region and home to Asia's largest business jet fleet," said David Dixon, president of Jetcraft Asia.

He considers the private aircraft market to be a barometer of the economy. As China's economy continues to grow, there will be more wealth creation opportunities in the area.

"Thanks to Chinese mainland's closer relationship with the Belt and Road economies, there are many commercial operations in China with offices in other remote locations, such as small cities in Africa, and business aviation is an efficient tool for these types of operations to get around."

The 2016 sales value for Jetcraft Asia in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for approximately 20 percent of the overall transactions, proving there is still a strong customer base for business aviation. And about one-third of those transactions came from China.

"The growth came from the sales of preowned aircraft transactions. We are seeing a trend toward more acceptance of preowned aircraft transactions than ever before. It's a natural trend in the maturing of a market," he said.

The Chinese government also supports business aviation. In early March, the Civil Aviation Administration of China abolished the need for government approval of the purchase and registration of new or preowned private jets. With the change in the rules, the procedure for Chinese buyers to acquire aircraft was simplified, helping to boost both new and preowned sales.

Jetcraft predicted the Asia-Pacific market will remain one of its most promising, and will be the third-largest business aviation market behind North America and Europe, accounting for 10 percent of its deliveries from 2016 to 2025, totaling almost 800 aircraft.

However, the industry still faces some challenges.

"Control of China's airspace remains one of the biggest obstacles to the growth of business aviation. The infrastructure lags behind compared with mature markets, leading to tight flight slots and high costs. Thus, the expansion of China's 150 airports, as well as more airfield access is still needed," Dixon said.

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