BAA Jet Management and Chinese partner seek to overcome bureaucracy and reap benefits of reduced costs

BAA Jet Management, the Hong Kong-based management and charter company, is drawing up an ambitious plan to expand its business aviation operations throughout China once its Shenzhen joint venture is fully operational in 2007. “Our aim is to operate several fixed-base operations [FBO] throughout China, and offer charter management services with a series of Chinese-registered aircraft,” says Ricky Leung, the company’s general manager.

“By operating Chinese-registered aircraft in China, our costs are one- eighth that of foreign-registered aircraft. That makes it cheaper for our customers. The market is still developing, but should be ready to offer a full range of services when demand takes off.”

Landing fees and other charges are higher for foreign-registered aircraft in China, but BAA plans to get around that by getting a B registration for some aircraft and applying for a Part 135 commercial operator certificate. It is also applying for a China air operator’s certificate, and expects to receive the papers by the end of this year and start operations by February 2007.

The key, he adds, is a joint venture with Shenzhen Airlines that is also called BAA. This will start off with an FBO that has customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facilities, an aircraft hangar, a maintenance hangar and spares storage rooms at an 11,000m2 (118,400ft2) site in Shenzhen airport. It is also planning to move into the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business.

“We are the first business aviation company to start a joint venture like this with a Chinese partner in China. We will learn from our experience in Shenzhen and extend it to other parts of China,” says Leung.

The company is also in talks with foreign FBOs who can come in as potential partners in Shenzhen, but Leung was not able to provide more details. BAA plans to continue with its base in Hong Kong, with Leung saying the plans for China are an extension of its existing operations.

BAA has a partnership with US management and charter company Priester Aviation, for which it co-manages a Gulfstream G200. It operates three G200s and in 2007 is to receive another G200 and a large-cabin G450 that will be placed on the Chinese register.

■ TAG Aviation Asia, the Hong Kong-based arm of Swiss business aviation company TAG Aviation, is set to take delivery of a Bombardier Global 5000 by the end of next year, which it will manage on behalf of an Asian customer.

TAG says discussions with a Chinese operator to offer aircraft management and charter within the mainland are ongoing and could be completed by late in the fourth quarter. TAG says it will also manage a Challenger 604 out of Singapore by the end of the year. The aircraft, which is owned by a group of South-East Asian clients, will be available for charter by early 2007. The company could open a full-time office in Singapore if there is a need for more manpower and should demand grow in the coming months

Source: Flight International