Bizjets in China, sales quandary

China’s leader has now returned to China at the end of his recent US state visit and is no doubt quite satisfied with the results of his various discussions around the US.

At the other end of this round-trip journey, China is having its share of domestic problems and whilst bizjets are not exactly your common or garden issue among the billion plus inhabitants of China, the domestic turmoil (primarily Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign) influencing the current bizjet sales market in China is quite bemusing to those of us operating in China, or looking into China from the outside.

The bizjet OEM’s have ‘made hay while the sun shines’ over the past few years with lucrative big ticket bizjet sales, but now that many of these proud bizjet owners are being obliged to sell, (under less-than-ideal circumstances), there are some quite bizarre scenarios playing out in China. These sales problems primarily affect Gulfstream, Bombardier and Falconjet aircraft because these are the most prominent brands in China.

Take, for example, an Aviatrade Asia client (Gulfstream owner) who recently sent this (redacted) email to our office;
Hi Philip

This Monday I had conclusion from management they are not going to sell the jet at this point of time (due to recent business environment, thus some cost cutting implemented) and this jet sale may jeopardize their face in the Chinese community

– You may say this is rare but the reality is they had eventually make their mind- no action for time being la

So, as we interpret these comments, our China client is ‘burying’ the sale of the company bizjet until a more propitious sale window opens up….all for the sake of ‘face’.

Basically, most jet owners in China who are faced with an ‘exposure’ issue when attempting to sell, prefer to ignore the quandary and somehow hope that it goes away. There is also the ‘small problem’ of someone having to tell the ‘big boss’ that his aircraft is worth considerably less than what was paid to the OEM.

Another long range jet (Falcon) owner in China recently asked Aviatrade Asia to sell his jet. We discovered that the jet had suffered two incidents of damage, however, the owner refused to confirm this damage and would only say that he ‘no longer liked the aircraft, so he wanted to sell’
This demonstrates the all-too-common naivety amongst China bizjet owners and this mindset also permeates the ongoing maintenance and overall condition of aircraft that have spent their (relatively short) lives living on a China-based airport ramp or parking apron.
Basically, the good news is that most aircraft for resale are low time/late model…the bad news is that these aircraft have spent their entire lives parked outside.

Has anyone ‘tasted’ the quality of Beijing air lately ?