Star power adds lustre to the jet set

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am


Jackie Chan's deal with Brazilian plane-maker Embraer last week puts the martial arts star at the head of a growing list of mainland-based celebrities and businessmen who have acquired a jet of their own.

Comedian Zhao Benshan is reported to have bought a Challenger 850, a 17-seater executive jet, from Bombardier for 200 million yuan (HK$245 million) in December 2009, and Liu Tao, a television actress who married a mainland businessman in 2008, owns a Falcon 2000EX from French planemaker Dassault Aviation, similar to the Falcon bought by German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for Euro28.5 million (HK$290 million).

The elite club of executive-jet owners also includes actress Zhang Ziyi and director Feng Xiaogang .

Hong Kong-born Chan, who has shifted much of his career to the mainland in recent years, was named Embraer's ambassador in China on Friday and will help the company promote its line of executive aircraft. The deal was announced on Friday when Embraer delivered a customised Legacy 650 to the actor in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Chan reportedly paid US$30 million for the aircraft.

According to the Hurun Report, the website which publishes an annual 'Rich List' of the mainland's wealthiest people modelled on the Forbes lists, 1,363 mainlanders are worth at least two billion yuan, one-sixth of whom - almost 230 people - are planning to buy a private jet.

Quoting industry estimates, mainland media has reported that in the next 10 years the number of executive jets will rise fivefold, opening up a potential market of 60 billion yuan.

However, 80 per cent of air space on the mainland is off-limits to civilian flights, and aviation rules require private-jet owners to follow strict rules when applying for licences and scheduling their flights.