Pri­vate jets tak­ing off among younger trav­el­ers

China Daily European Weekly - - Business - By DUAN TING tingduan@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Younger cus­tomers and more ex­ec­u­tives from tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies on the Chi­nese main­land are us­ing pri­vate avi­a­tion ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to Thomas Flohr, founder and chair­man of Vis­taJet, the world’s first full own­er­ship pri­vate jet com­pany.

Flohr says younger cus­tomers in­clud­ing mil­len­ni­als are join­ing Vis­taJet, many of whom al­ready have a good knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of pri­vate avi­a­tion.

Tra­di­tion­ally, its jets have been used by ex­ec­u­tives in the oil, min­ing, en­ergy and real es­tate in­dus­tries, ac­cord­ing to Flohr, but now more tech­nol­ogy, fi­nan­cial ser­vices and ed­u­ca­tion ex­ec­u­tives are com­ing on board.

“The min­i­mum net worth of our typ­i­cal cus­tomers is $200 mil­lion, and they are aged from their late 20s to their 50s,” says Flohr.

He says 17 per­cent of its cus­tomers are from China, and they fly around 100 to 200 hours a year with the com­pany. “Pri­vate jet busi­ness on the Chi­nese main­land is still rel­a­tively new, and it is our great fo­cus within the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion,” said Flohr.

Chi­nese cus­tomers pre­fer air­craft with a larger cabin, for ex­am­ple the Global 6000 and the Chal­lenger 850, which has a ca­pac­ity for 14 pas­sen­gers and seven pos­si­ble sleep­ing ar­eas, says Flohr.

He re­mained Vis­taJet’s chair­man and ma­jor­ity share­holder af­ter the com­pany re­cently raised $200 mil­lion from global pri­vate-eq­uity com­pany Rhone Cap­i­tal, which will take seats on the com­pany’s board but won’t be in­volved in man­age­ment.

Flohr is the first en­tre­pre­neur to build a busi­ness model of­fer­ing a flight-hour sub­scrip­tion model across an en­tire fleet of jets fly­ing cus­tomers any­where and any­time.

“The frac­tional own­er­ship busi­ness model in pri­vate avi­a­tion busi­ness is dead,” Flohr says. “A full own­er­ship com­pany with $2.5 bil­lion in as­sets, with a shar­ing econ­omy con­cept for all big cor­po­ra­tions to use, is the right choice.”

Flohr says the com­pany’s in­fra­struc­ture is still un­der­used, since it can serve 100,000 hours per year but only 55,000 hours of us­age is es­ti­mated for this year. He aims to grow to 10 per­cent of the mar­ket share glob­ally, fly­ing 200,000 hours a year.

YANG CHUN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A Bom­bardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 of Vis­taJet is dis­played dur­ing an expo held in Shang­hai.

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