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Private Business Aviation: Taking off in Southeast Asia

By: Tim Colman

With the Asian Century upon us increasing numbers of executives need to be on the ground inking deals, inspecting manufacturing plants and overseeing mining operations. While travelling business class, or first if you’re lucky, is still the norm the private business aviation sector is growing. According to David Dixon, President of Jetcraft Asia, a private jet is the ultimate choice for the globetrotting exec. “The secret for the businessman is to be able to go from the steps to the car in as shortest time possible,” he says. 

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Jetcraft, who facilitate private jet sales, acquisitions and trades on an international market, have just released their latest forecast report, 10 Year Business Aviation Outlook. They’ve estimated 8755 jets will be delivered by 2024, totalling $USD 271.1 billion in revenue. While the majority of these planes will operate in the US the Asian market, lead by China, are increasing their orders.

When you look at the region’s geography it’s clear why bigger business is exploring the private aviation option. “Indonesia is 3000 miles from one end to the other, the equivalent of New York to LA. Similarly, in the Philippines, the island make-up, and Malaysia spread over a wide distance means the use of aviation is quite extensive,” says Dixon.

Business capitals are moving too. Governments are expanding their economies from overcrowded cities like Jakarta to more regional areas like Surabaya. Put simply private aviation gets executives closer to their destination. “What’s happened in the last 15 years is that traditionally you flew from Singapore to Hong Kong or Taipei to Jakarta. It’s tended to just be capital city to capital city. Now you find people want to go to Surabaya to Manila or Davao to Bangkok. The benefit of business aviation is secondary point to secondary point,” says Dixon.

It’s not that traditional airlines don’t service these more remote areas, it can just take a little longer. When you compare the purchase and maintenance costs of private ownership to a business class corporate program the spend certainly doesn’t add up. “If you’ve got a several billion dollar company your chief executives are worth quite a bit of money in terms of what they’re generating for the shareholders. The cost of that person not being productive is quite high. So if you loose them for two or three days every week – sitting in airports, getting delayed, having to go via somewhere else – the cost becomes almost academic. It’s the value of time that becomes the important factor,” says Dixon.

And let’s not forget, whether you’re in a Gulfstream G550, Dassault Falcon 7X or Bombardier Global 6000, it’s essentially a luxury, flying office space. “It’s more than a notch above first class for sure,” says Dixon. “Plus you have the private cabin with various in-flight capabilities including internet and telephone. The office can always find you.”