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The business-aviation market is poised for rapid growth in China, and Columbus-based NetJets is attempting to be part of the expansion.
NetJets soon will receive certification from the Chinese government and expects to begin operations in June or July, officials said.
“We will begin with a charter-management business,” said Bill Noe, NetJets’ chief operating officer.
China is served by 225 business jets. NetJets operates 700 aircraft in the United States and other parts of the world.
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier predicted in a recent market study that China “will become the third-largest market of business jets” with 2,400 deliveries by 2032.
As the new jets arrive, NetJets will expand its management business and slowly get into the fractional-ownership business model it pioneered in the United States and Europe, Noe said.
“If you look at China, the major metropolitan centers are all a two- or three-hour flight away, and, as they grow, they’ll need more transportation back and forth,” he said.
Aviation still faces hurdles in China, such as the lack of airport infrastructure and issues of air-traffic control, said Scott Liston, executive vice president of the consulting firm Argus International Inc.
“They are making changes and seem to be headed in the right direction,” he said of the Chinese government’s attempts to address these issues.
Liston said NetJets is in a good position to take advantage of the growing demand for jet-management service and fractional ownership in China.
“The number of corporations is growing, and they have the financial resources and travel requirements for business aviation,” he said. “And the rate of millionaires is increasing and staggering, and it does take significant financial substance to afford private aviation.”
The NetJets operations in China will not initially affect Columbus employment, Noe said.
“As the business there grows and there is more movement globally, we may see some increased activities here and the need for more jobs in Columbus,” he said. “But that won’t be for many years.”