BAA Jet Management has signed contracts to manage an additional 11 private aircraft in the next five years, with the company also looking to set up fixed base operations in Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

"China is our main base and having these aircraft on our books will help make us a major player in the region," says Jeff Lowe, the Hong Kong-based company's director of sales and marketing. Asia United Business Aviation (AUBA), BAA's joint venture with China's Shenzhen Airlines, will manage the aircraft through its Part-135 equivalent Chinese air operator's certificate.

It plans to take delivery of a number of managed aircraft over the next year including three Gulfstream G200s, the first of which arrives this month, a Falcon 2000, a Bombardier Challenger 604, an Airbus A318, a Falcon F900EX, a Gulfstream G550, a Gulfstream G5000, a Falcon F2000EX and an Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) (2011). BAA already has two G200s, a Gulfstream G450 and Gulfstream V on its books.

While the aircraft are not available for charter, Lowe says that BAA is talking to the owners about this. "We tell them that charter is a way of getting a return out of their assets, but the idea of sharing your aircraft with others is not popular here," he points out.

The company is planning its expansion into the mainland and identified an airport that is a 45-minute drive from Beijing, China's capital. It is in talks to build a FBO and hangar and install navigational equipment, to include customs, immigration and quarantine facilities. An agreement could be reached in the first half of 2008, says Lowe. Another airport has been identified near Shanghai, China's financial capital, but this will come later.

BAA also aims to break ground on its proposed FBO at Shenzhen's Bao'an International Airport by the end of 2007 and begin operations by the end of 2008. "We're still getting the approvals for some of the infrastructure projects," says Lowe.

Some question the point of a facility in Shenzhen, which is more than an hour's drive from its target market Hong Kong. And while it is now cheaper for Chinese-registered aircraft to fly in the mainland, many believe that China is looking to unify the fees for mainland-, Hong Kong- and Macau-registered aircraft.

Source: Flight International