Life beyond first class
ANNA HEALY FENTON
Most of us don’t have to worry about what to do when we tire of flying first class on scheduled airlines. It’s just not something we lose sleep over. So finding the strap line “Life Beyond First Class” on a splendid publication called Jetgala, a magazine dedicated to all things to do with private jets was intriguing.
It’s fat and glossy with lots of luxury brand and watch ads produced in Singapore. As well as pages of the latest private jet interiors and private jet exteriors, it’s packed with cutting edge colour schemes – red upholstery is ‘in’ this year: “Scarlet Setter – painting the sky red”; and designers opining on private jet trends: “Non-conformist residential design on the go.”
Most interesting are the two pages on “plane speak”, your airborne glossary. Pay attention, all you Johnnie- come- lately newbie PJ users, this guide to the lingo will save you from appearing to be aeronautical numpties. Read this and you’ll know your empty legs from your deadheads. If you’re not already fluent in private jet, an empty leg is also known as “one way availability” and means a plane is available for travel between airports during a certain time period. A deadhead means flying the return leg of a trip without cargo or passengers. Then there’s a pan pan - international call signal for urgency, and a squawk; a four digit number that a pilot dials into his transponder to identify his aircraft to air traffic control.
High altitude wealth intelligence
These private jet folks keep a close eye on where the cash flows and they have pin-pointed Indonesia as the private jet market to watch. Jetgala tells us that Asian culture is an intriguing mix that emphasises the often conflicting values of modesty and face. But with Asia’s strong growth over the past year, Ultra High Net Worth Individuals in Asia are overcoming this reticence and now seem more ready to acknowledge their wealth openly.
And you’ve guessed it, that’ means splashing out on private aircraft. And Indonesia is the place where business jet ownership is growing fastest. According to Wealth X, a global wealth intelligence outfit in Singapore, Indonesia boasts 775 individuals worth more than US$30million. And their combined wealth grew by 47 per cent this year, since the release of the 2011 World Ultra Wealth Report, reaching US$125 billion. This is driving a taste for acquiring luxury items, with private aircraft topping the shopping list.
Demand for air travel generally in Indonesia has boomed, along with its economy. The Singapore air show in February saw two thirds of its orders placed by Indonesian carriers. Private jet rental activity has also surged. And it’s not just oil, coal and mining guys hiring turboprops to get about. It means commercial airlines are expanding to include business jet charter.
Private jet ownership comes naturally to wealthy Indonesians, Jetgala concludes. A Mr. Big in a major shipbuilding and investment company owns a Gulfstream IV and one of the potential presidential candidates in the 2014 elections hops about in either his 2002 Boeing Business Jet or his 2008 Bombardier Global Express XRS. With South East Asia due to account for 16 per cent of the world’s business jet order book in the next decade. Indonesia is likely to account for a large chunk of that business.