Greater China's business jet fleet grew by 40% last year to 336 aircraft, fuelled by the region's insatiable appetite for top of the range business jets.

According to a study compiled by aviation consultancy Asian Sky Group, the fleet of jets in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and the People's Republic (PRC) grew by 96 aircraft through 2012, with large, super-large, ultra long-range and corporate airliners accounting for 91% of the growth.

Gulfstream topped the delivery tally, with 36 aircraft - 22 G550s and 12 G450s - handed over during the 12-month period. Bombardier came in second, delivering 22 Challenger types and nine Global business jets, the study revealed.

Gulfstream G550


The PRC saw the largest rate of growth across the region, with its fleet climbing by 40% to 193 business jets.

"This represents an increase in absolute numbers over 2012 - 60 versus 43 aircraft in 2011 - but the growth rate slowed by 5% to 40%," says report author and Asian Sky general manager Jeffrey Lowe.

He is confident, however, that demand will remain strong across Greater China, as more individuals and companies experience the benefits of business aviation. "There is huge pent up demand for business jets in China. We have barely scratched the surface," he adds.

Top-end business jets continue to dominate the shopping lists of China's consumers, the study reveals. This is due to the status that these brands offer, Lowe says, "and also the increasing need for companies and individuals to fly globally for business".

In contrast, demand for bottom-end jets is lacklustre. Bombardier, for example has yet to find a market for its Learjet family, while Cessna has seen no net growth in its fleet from 2011 to 2012, the report said.

"In fact, Cessna has seen little growth over the last three years, with only one net aircraft added in 2010 and two net aircraft in 2011," the study said.

"The range of available models has not catered to more recent large-cabin and ultra-long range tastes of high net worth individuals in the PRC," it continued. "Cessna is hoping its new midsize Citation Latitude and large cabin Longitude [scheduled to enter service in 2015 and 2017 respectively], will reverse its fortunes in PRC."

Source: Flight International