New year heralds plenty of Chinese takeaway for the West
So it’s still all China, China, China in my inbox as the Western world eases into the New Year. Busy booking guest speakers for Asian Aerospace in Hong Kong – March 8-10 http://www.asianaerospace.com/. Also writing articles on business aviation in China for UK Aopa’s GA Magazine, http://bit.ly/eG0UHc, Aviation International News http://www.ainonline.com, Corporate Jet Investor http://bit.ly/gTOHcW and Jet Gala magazine http://www.jetgala.com.
There are interesting acquisitions afoot as leasing giants Minsheng Banking Corporation http://bit.ly/ezSEle start to carve out their territory with a likely fleet order of 10-15 business jets. Meanwhile fractional superstars NetJets Inc http://www.netjets.com will go into China with a 3-way JV, the first bizav venture I’ve heard of to do so. Western companies teaming with Chinese firms have to accept the host partner will have at least 51%.
Hot on the heels of obtaining a Hong Kong Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) TAG Aviation http://www.tagaviation.com announced in December that it would enter China Asia with a JV with the China First Mandarin Group (CFMG). The companies signed a preliminary joint-venture agreement to serve the business aviation market in Asia with aircraft charter, management and maintenance services. The agreement will be finalised when the Chinese government grants approval – probably early 2011, according to Robert Wells, TAG’s CEO. He also said that the joint-venture is the first time where a company that holds an AOC in China is not part of one of the scheduled airlines.
TAG Aviation Asia manages and operates 15 business aircraft. CFMG’s Shenyang-based First Mandarin Business Aviation (FMBA) unit holds a Chinese AOC and operates Bombardier Challenger 604s and 850s. It also holds a Civil Aviation Administration of China CCAT 145 repair station certificate. “TAG Aviation’s reputation with business aviation clients worldwide combined with its well-recognized global brand make an ideal match for us,” said Zhu Lili, chairwoman of FMBA.
Her husband Li Dong Qi is CFMG’s CEO is a former Chinese air force pilot who flew MiG fighters and attributes his passion for aviation to his former air force experience.
All the above is greatly facilitated by the opening up of China’s skies, as I reported for AOPA back in December. The Chinese government is planning to open up its lower airspace to allow the industry to operate freely. AOPA China, which currently has only double figures of members, believes that within a few years it could have 10,000. The country will begin next year to try out a system under which airspace below 4,000 metres will be separated into three categories – areas under control, areas under surveillance, and areas where aircraft can fly freely after reporting their intentions.
Some 80 percent of China’s airspace is controlled by the People’s Liberation Army. Up to now, pilots have had to request permission for every flight, which could take several days to come through. The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China wants to be what it calls “a world-class general aviation solution provider” by 2020.
Food for thought for sure…