China to become biggest market for private aircraft

By Ma Yujia
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 7, 2013
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Industry insiders are predicting that China will replace America as the biggest market for private aircraft over the coming decade, with roughly 150,000 potential customers, according to Economic Information Daily.

China to become biggest market for private aircraft.[File photo]

China will begin relaxing a ban on the use of low-altitude airspace across the country starting in 2013, according to Ma Xin, an official with the national air-traffic authority, while meeting at the 2012 Zhuhai Aviation Exhibition held in November.

A loosening of airspace restrictions is expected in China's aviation industry, including the purchase and private ownership of aircraft.

Private planes new status symbol

The Chinese super-rich are beginning to view aircraft as a new must-have status symbol.

Xiong Wei, the son of a wealthy Chinese businessman and member of an exclusive private club for plane owners in Beijing, said, "A good number of my friends have already purchased or are preparing to buy private planes. My family works in real estate and automobiles, and is very interested in the private plane market."

"Owning a private jet would not only save in transportation time, but would look good during any business negotiation," said a private entrepreneur who spoke on the condition of autonomy.

According to a survey conducted by a foreign institution, private aircraft are the primary means of transportation for senior executives traveling on business. By comparison, the Chinese super-rich will likely view the aircraft as new toy to display their vast amount of wealth.

Plane ownership complicated

"There are three channels for individuals to buy a plane: Ordering directly from the manufacturer; purchasing a new plane through a large agency, and buying second-hand," said Liao Xuefeng, CEO of China Business Aviation Group, in an interview with Economic Information Daily.

Buying a private jet is not an easy undertaking in China. There are five general steps, according to Liao.

The first step is to hire a professional agency to study how the plane would be used, such as flight distance and operating costs, in order to determine whether ownership would be economically feasible. The agency would then recommend a make and model of aircraft.

Second, the agency will look for the aircraft in different markets, taking price and delivery time into consideration.

Third, a purchase agreement and regulation authority approval is required to guarantee a successful purchase.

The fourth step is the supervision of equipment installation and interior decoration.

The final step takes between four and eight months to receive Civil Aviation Administration of China approval and other relevant clearances.

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