Minsheng to expand business jet fleet
Minsheng Financial Leasing, a subsidiary of China Minsheng Banking Corp, plans to order 50 new Gulfstream jets to beef up its corporate jet fleet in a bid to cash in on the country's dynamic business jet market.
The orders, worth US$2.6 billion, are the biggest spend by a Chinese aircraft leasing company, and will be confirmed in the next three to five years, Minsheng said yesterday.
The planes include the Gulfstream 650, G550, G450 and G250, which can carry between eight and 18 passengers on nonstop legs of up to 7,000 nautical miles. The outlay shows the Chinese lessor is confident about the the corporate jet market on mainland.
Minsheng, one of the four major aircraft lessors on the mainland, will expand its business jet fleet to 100 by the end of this year from over 30 at present, its chairman Kong Linshan said.
The demand for private jets is gathering pace after the mainland government agreed to open up the skies earlier this year by cutting the approval period on flight plans to one day from as long as one week in the past.
Greater China is already the biggest market in the region for Gulfstream, with 30 of its aircraft operating on the mainland and 28 in Hong Kong, out of a total 142 in the whole of the Asia-Pacific.
Airbus has also predicted it will sell 20 to 30 corporate jets to China in the next five years.
Bjorn Naf, chief executive of Metrojet, the largest business jet operator in the Asia-Pacific region, predicted some 600 business jets would be delivered to China over the next 10 years.
Alongside Minsheng, other Chinese banks, including China Construction Bank, Aricultural Bank of China and Bank of China, are also beefing up their aircraft leasing arms.