A big jet becomes a status symbol in China.


New York (AirGuideBusiness - Business & Industry Features) Wed, Apr 16, 2014 - In the United States, public reaction to the corporate use of business jets can be scathing when instances of obvious excess become publicized, such as the day in 2008 when the top executives of the Detroit automakers each used a private jet to fly to Washington to argue for $25 billion in taxpayer bailouts. But in China, where sales of business jets are increasing despite a lack of large scale air-system support and a dearth of airports to handle private flights, attitudes about private jets seem to be different. While forecasters had long assumed midsize and smaller jets would prevail as China's business aviation market expanded throughout the country, that has not been the case. Instead, Chinese buyers are enthusiastically opting mostly for so-called heavy metal jets - big, long-range luxury jets that can cost $50 million or more before extras like fancy cabin fixtures. A big jet is considered a big status symbol. In China, "the distribution of cabin size is very different," said Brian Foley, whose company, Brian Foley Associates, provides market analysis on the global aerospace industry. "China leans more toward the heavy, top-end class" in business jet purchases, he said. The main allure is longer range. A top-end Gulfstream G550 - price tag $56 million before cabin fittings - can fly 6,800 nautical miles nonstop, or about 7,800 miles, easily covering the distance between Shanghai and New York. "China is a pretty big land mass, and if you want to go to a business center outside of China, you just need the legs to get there," Mr. Foley said. But cultural differences also favor the market for the big luxury jets, it seems. "In China," Mr. Foley said, "if you're a successful business person, you generally don't mind flaunting that and making your compatriots aware that you're doing well. And one way to do that is to buy the biggest and best business jet, if you have the money to buy it." Global sales of business jets, which plunged during the financial crisis, have been in a slow recovery, and will account for $250 billion in sales from 2013 to 2023, according to Honeywell's business and general aviation division. In its most recent 10-year forecast, Honeywell said that bigger, faster, more expensive long-range jets would account for 70 percent of new expenditures worldwide on business jets. Throughout Asia, Honeywell said, the total number of business jets has...

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