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Growth but dark clouds prevail

(Shanghai Daily)

09:01, April 17, 2013

Visitors check out business aircraft displayed at the Asia Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition, which opened yesterday in Shanghai. The show ends tomorrow. (Shanghai Daily/ Dong Jun)

CHINA still trails the United States and Europe in the number of private jet owners despite the rapid growth in recent years, participants at the Asia Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition heard yesterday.

About 100 people from the Chinese mainland, mainly business owners, have private jets while 3,000 others, usually corporate executives, often travel by chartered planes, officials said on the sideline of the three-day event which started yesterday.

Despite the rapid increase in the number of private jet owners recently in the country, China still lags far behind the US and Europe, said William Wei, president of the World Aviation Elite Investment Co, which opened China's first business jet online purchase and renting platform,, yesterday.

"The private jet buyers or chartered flight renters on the mainland still mainly show off their aircraft rather than truly use the planes for business travel," Wei said.

He added that some private jet buyers rent their planes to chartered flight companies to offset the high maintenance costs.

The Chinese users chartering the planes are mainly high-ranking financial, real estate and stockbroking executives, and Wei said this segment is surging by 30 percent annually on the mainland.

Last year's exhibition saw about 30 business aircraft sold, according to the Shanghai Airport Authority.

Xia Xinghua, deputy director with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said there were 166 business aircraft owned by both private citizens and enterprises registered on the mainland at the end of last year, up from 109 a year earlier.

Despite supportive policies to boost the sector that is "one of the fastest growing markets," there are still dark clouds.

"The limited flight schedules due to air traffic control and the lack of infrastructure are the main problems," said Shi Boli, the head of CAAC's transport department.

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