T he private jet sector is a growing market in Asia and the number of business aircraft and FBOs (private jet terminals) are set to increase significantly...
Consider there are some 11,000 private aircraft registered worldwide with around 7,500 in the US and 2,500 in Europe. Asia, with a population of 3 billion, has only around 500 aircraft with 200 in China.
Growth is expected to come from the likes of China, Indonesia and India as new airports open up to business aviation.
The sector will also tap into the demand of Asian business travellers who require travel to many parts of the world, particularly places such as Africa which are less served by major schedule airlines.
Generally, there are a number of ways to use a private jet in Asia - from buying your own aircraft to ad-hoc jet charter (renting an aircraft). Note that block hours and fractional ownership programs are not yet well established in Asia. Empty legs are business jet charter sectors flown empty and some companies sell these for up to 75% less than the standard rate.
Let's take a look at some air charter operators and brokers in Asia:
Japan Jet Charter Co Ltd - Japan-based operator with a number of aircraft for charter including a Boeing Business Jet. Note that private aviation has been very limited in Japan. With an excellent high-speed train network and large domestic airline capacity, most corporate travellers stick to public transport and scheduled airlines. However things are slowly changing - Tokyo Narita airport opens a dedicated business aviation terminal in April 2012.
MetroJet - Hong Kong based operator with a fleet of Gulfstream (G550, G450, G200) and Bombardier aircraft (Global 5000 and Challenger 604) that can fly around the region and beyond. Also offers its Asia Jet Card block hours program for its G200.
MJets - Small jet charter operator and FBO in Bangkok, Thailand.
Executive Jets Asia - small operator based out of Singapore offering ad-hoc jet charter. They also have an interesting fractional ownership program offering a 1/6 share in either a Hawker 700 (for $800,000) or a Hawker 800 (for $1.2m).
For year 1 you get 70 free flying hours with no extra fees. From year 2 to 5 you only pay an annual fee of $100,000 for your 70 hours - again this is all-in, with no other fees to pay. You also get 30% of any income when the aircraft is rented to third parties and after 5 years they sell the aircraft and you get back 1/6 of the sales price.
VistaJet - Fast growing European air charter operator specialising in intercontinental flights. Has offices in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
Air Charter Service - Major international charter broker with office in Hong Kong. Also offers empty legs to/from Asia.
Chapman Freeborn - Large international air charter broker. Has an Asian office in Singapore.
Another option for wealthy Asian individuals and companies is the outright purchase of an aircraft. For this you need a large up-front acquisition fee (anything from $1.8m to $70m+) and then there are costs for managing the aircraft including maintenance, hangar fees, fuel and crew costs. Martial arts film star and director Jackie Chan recently took delivery of a $30m Embraer Legacy 650 business jet.
Private owners of aircraft in Asia tend not to charter out their planes to third parties.