Hello From The Other Side


NOTE: The below originally appeared as the editorial in our April 15 One Minute Week newsletter. To find out more, and sign up for free, please click here.


Two years ago I sat down in exactly the same Beijing hotel room and wrote about how consolidation was the only way for Chinese operators to survive. It was around that time we were beginning to see the first effects from Xi Jingping’s anti-graft measures.

Chinese operators were starting to hurt. Charter had dropped off a cliff as travelling officials – for a long time the staple revenue generator for many mainland operators – took commercial flights instead. Worse still for them, Chinese airlines then began the process of removing first class on those domestic flights.

Fast forward two years, and some aircraft have left the country and the ownership of some of the operators has also changed, although the branding remains the same. More crucially, charter sales in the country have picked up.

During quiet times you rebuild, you educate. Which is exactly what ASBAA – the Asian Business Aviation Association – and NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) have done.

The China that is starting to emerge from the other side is different. Gone is the naivety of jet owners, desperately clambering to keep up with their neighbours by buying the same jet as their friends.

This time around, owners are more savvy, they are beginning to understand the true value of business aviation. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the number of pre-owned aircraft entering the country.

That doesn’t mean that China has bounced back, far from it. But the signs are encouraging.

In the same week as ABACE, the country released its first quarter economic data. GDP growth has stabilised, and corporate profits are up by almost 5% – all good signs.

However, it’s not all good news, because in the paper I’m reading there’s the opposite side of the coin as the headline states ‘Prosecutors stepping up graft fight’.

That’s it from ABACE, see you next year. Or as they would say in China 再见!