Aircraft management company Business Aviation Asia (BAA) expects its fleet of privately-owned business jets to increase to 43 by the end of 2012, as the appetite for executive aircraft in its core Chinese market continues to swell.
The prediction comes as the Hong Kong-based firm prepares to break ground on a business aviation facility at Tianjin airport - 120km (75 miles) southeast of Beijing.
BAA has seen a fourfold increase in its managed fleet, from six to 24 mainly Chinese-registered aircraft, since operations began in 2007.
This tally is expected to reach 34 by the end of 2011, through the addition of an Airbus ACJ319, Dassault Falcon 2000 and 900LX, a Bombardier Challenger 850, and two Challenger 605s, a Global XRS and a Gulfstream G450 and G550.
"We have been overwhelmed by the demand for our services," said BAA managing director Ricky Leung. "The bulk of the aircraft we manage are large cabin types upwards. We expect to add a third ACJ318 to our fleet next year, along with a G450, a Challenger 605, two G550s, two Falcon 7Xs and two Hawker 4000s."
Supporting its jet fleet across greater China, BAA has operations and maintenance bases in seven cities - Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Tianjin - where it plans to begin construction of the new business aviation facility in April 2012.
"We recently signed an investment agreement with the Tianjin airport development zone for 721,180ft² [67,000m²] of land within the airport's free trade zone," Leung said.
BAA plans to invest yuan 340 million ($53 million) to build a 1,100m (3,609ft) taxiway, a maintenance facility, parking and paint hangars, workshops, fixed base operation offices "and eventually a training centre," said Leung.
The business aviation hub is expected to be fully operational in October 2013.
"We expect to attract a lot of traffic at Tainjin. This already is a very busy and important base for logistics and freight traffic, so much of the infrastructure is already in place," Leung added.
"Operating in and out of Beijing airport is slot-restricted, which can be frustrating for many operators. Flying to Tianjin is not far from the capital, and the two cities are connected by a high-speed train service. We are also evaluating a helicopter shuttle service as another alternative."