Looking into China's Booming Private Jet Market

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In late July, the world's number 3 aircraft maker, Bombardier, toured its new Global 6000 jet in four Chinese cities. The Canadian company expects China to gobble up 1,000 business jets from 2012-2021 and a further 1,400 in the following decade, an estimate some industry watchers deem ambitious.

The country of 1.3 billion people now has fewer than 200 private jets. But Bombardier's Regional Vice President of China Sales, Michael Han, says China could become the jet maker's number three market in a decade.

[Michael Han, Bombardier's Regional Vice President of China Sales]:
"The market is really booming now, especially since starting in early 2011. As of last year, we have seen very, very strong increase in demand in the business jet market. And China is now the second largest economy in the world. And we see from Bombardier's perspective big potential for China to be the third largest market after the U.S. and Europe in the next 10 years."

Beijing-based businessman Zhai Jiahua's China Stem Cell Health Group owns not one, but three private jets of different sizes. Zhai plans to buy two more planes for his business within the next couple years.

Although business jet makers are bullish on their China forecasts, some first-time buyers may neglect the string of needs that comes with a private jet.

Hong Kong based Metrojet offers business aviation services such as chartering and managing planes.

[Bjorn Naf, President & CEO of Metrojet Hong Kong]:
"Once you buy an aircraft -- and I think it's relatively easy to buy an aircraft if you have the money -- but I think it's more difficult to operate an aircraft. And for this you have to have an infrastructure, you need to have airports, you need to have terminals, VIP terminals, you need to have as well the airspace control. And I think that certainly is a challenge in mainland China today, because military airspace controlled, as well as the regulations, as well you don't have secondary airports."

China's military controls 70 percent of its airspace.

The country has roughly 180 airports open for civilian use, compared with about 14,000 in the United States that cater to the country's 312 million people.

Registration could also pose a problem for buyers -- securing an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) can take at least 12 months.

The aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Administration of China, expects there will be 30 AOCs by the end of 2015, meaning 20 new certificates in the next three years at most, despite a queue of at least 80 now.

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