Things are starting to look up for business aviation in China as industry analysts expect an increase in business in 2015.
Having only recently been introduced to Chinese markets, business aircraft sales have already been a roller-coaster ride as economic and political factors wreak havoc on the industry’s stability. A peak in 2009 with robust sales of large-cabin jets lead to a recent trough, which combined with the country’s slowing economy and austerity measures to slow orders of business jets of all sizes. Now, things are starting to look up for business aviation in China.
Many of China’s wealthy buyers have had strong reasons to keep a low profile in the past, while their government pursued corrupt officials as part of an anti-luxury movement. Despite the increase in wealth in the country — with the number of billionaires in China projected to increase to over 1,000 in 2017 — buyers were quick to back down from their intended purchases of aircraft when they became a symbol of excessive wealth.
In 2012 strong optimism prompted expectations for the number of business aircraft in China to grow by 30% between 2011 and 2015. Unfortunately, in 2014, customer orders decreased by half compared to the prior year and expectations were foiled.
But as the number of Chinese business jet order numbers continue to steadily climb in 2015, the industry hopes there will be stronger economic movement. In the past year, the Shanghai Composite Index nearly doubled, reaching a seven-year high.
For the time, Chinese politics have cooled off and the government has begun to encourage companies in China to invest abroad. There is hope that long-range private aircraft will be considered valuable business tools instead of needless luxury items.
There is also a growing presence of international aviation business in China. Textron Aviation’s Cessna Aircraft division recently formed a joint venture with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. — a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China — to launch charter and business aviation management services in the country next year. The Wichita-based aircraft innovator, which includes Cessna, Beechcraft, and Hawker aircraft brands, sees China as an emerging market important to future growth.
Experts are watching the recent upturn in the Chinese market as a sign that indicates worldwide business aviation is on the rise once more.
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