Chinese luxury hits the sky

Private Jet

Chapman Freeborn

China is the success story of the recession, as is the luxury goods market – it’s no surprise that the high fliers don’t feel the squeeze as hard as others might. In fact, the demand for luxury good has actually increased in China, with forecasts predicting that by 2015, China will be world leader in this sector.

While Europe continues with the crunch, it’s China that will be at the top of its game in hot property, with prices of housing in Shanghai and Beijing at an all-time high. Moreover, China’s resource and production industries are thriving. Luxury goods are not only being manufactured and created there, but they are starting to be consumed in their very country of origin, by Chinese customers.

With regard to the luxury aviation market, the annual report by Bombardier, theCanadian multinational aerospace and transportation company, showed that already in 2012, orders on private jets were on the increase in China, and they’re only going to increase in the near future. This is to be expected from a culture that places so much importance on status, respect and keeping up appearances.

Indeed, the Chapman Freeborn charter specialist in China, Fiona Zhi, believes that jets have significance beyond being simply a practical vehicle for frequent fliers in business. For example, the Gulfstream 650 is one of the company’s most expensive private jets, and yet the orders are coming thick and fast from China on this and other bigger, more lavish jets.

In fact, it is specifically Gulfstream’s willingness to make its jets a scarce resource that has caused a rise in popularity in China. In turn, the kind of support and infrastructure that Gulfstream are able to provide is top quality.

Whereas in Europe people looking for business jets look for more fragmented and independent decision-making, the Chinese have a tendency towards one central organisation where they can get the whole package in one. As such, they want an advisor who can help to select and provide the aircraft, the management company and the financial arrangements most appropriate for the client’s needs. That’s where Chapman Freeborn steps in – to aid in the decision making. Indeed, investing in private jet hire is a big decision, and not one to be made lightly without the help of experts.

Figures show that in April 2013, there were 15 different private jet companies with over 150 aircraft on their rosters, and the combined number of arrivals and departures nearly reaching the 12,000 mark. Between this and the buoyancy of the second-hand jet market – with bigger used jets going for similar prices to smaller new ones – we can expect that the market figures, the number of jets and number of miles flown will all continue to increase for the Chinese.

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