By David Dixon, President of Jetcraft Asia
Asia has been my adopted home since the early 1980s, when business aviation was all but non-existent in places like China, Hong Kong and Japan. What little activity there was could be found in areas such as the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia.
At the time very few people could have predicted that, as a socialist state, China would come to adopt the ultimate capitalist business tool – the private jet. But when Deng Xiaoping opened up China to foreign investment in the 1980s, the rapid growth of the Chinese economy meant business aviation could begin to take off.
The Tiger economy effect
20 years later, Asia was on everyone’s minds. Extreme growth areas, known as Tiger economies, had sprung up across the region and OEMs were scrambling for a China strategy.
While economic growth was rapid and high, the Asian business aviation market did not progress in the same way as that in the US or Europe. The attitude amongst buyers was ‘buy now, buy new’, and the main aircraft of interest were long-range, wide-body models. As a result, the area quickly became dominated by Gulfstream V and Bombardier Global Express aircraft.