FACTORS IMPACTING CHARTER, By Air Charter Service

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Over the course of the years, the business jet charter market has been met with increasing demand. Efficient and on-demand travel is a growing trend in the region and the emergence of membership schemes and bespoke charter packages has made the market easier and more accessible. Still, operators and brokers, alike, are faced with challenges of limited infrastructure and regulations; yet the market continues to be on the rise. 

CURRENT MARKET

The market is buoyant and year on year we are seeing a greater demand for private jet charter. Last year there was an increase in Air Charter Service’s flight numbers by 25% and this year the figures are suggesting a continued upward trend.            

The general feel of the market is a positive one.  As brokers, Air Charter Service, ideally needs more aircraft in the region that are Part 135 and freely available for charter. There currently seems to be a pattern of aircraft leaving the region, being sold off or companies consolidating, which may suggest otherwise. There is no doubt, though, that the demand for charter is growing. We just need the infrastructure in the region to catch up.  Hopefully, with this increase in competition the pricing will start to become more in line with Europe or the US where it is more affordable.    

TIMING 

Throughout the year there are spikes in utilization of charter, however the pattern is less apparent than in other parts of the world. This could be down to the more moderate climate here in Asia so a little less obvious then other parts of the world plus a large percentage of trips are for business purposes.  

Periods around major events, such as Art Basel in Hong Kong or the Singapore Grand Prix see increased activity in the region, plus the many summits and regional ASEAN meetings. The festive season is always busy around Christmas and Chinese New Year and other public holidays. With it also being the European winter, we do see other ACS offices enquiring more for trips in the Asia-Pacific region.  Similarly, as the European summer approaches we do find lots of clients travelling to Europe for their holidays, typically France or Italy.     

Last year there was an increase in Air Charter Service’s flight numbers by 25%

DESTINATIONS

Macau is now back on the map with its diversification away from purely gambling. The SAR’s anti-corruption policy has, to a degree, re-corrected the market.  Manila is another high-roller hotspot, with multiple casinos attracting players.  

The Fortune 500 companies and other multinational companies make up a large percentage of private jet charter within Asia travelling to major hubs conducting business.  Private Jet charter for business really comes into its own when there is a tight schedule and multiple cities have to be visited in a short space of time.

Singapore is becoming a good springboard with an increasing number of our European and American clients flying in on commercial and connecting with private jets, especially when travelling to the remoter parts of Indonesia.  

OPERATIONAL RESTRICTIONS

Where does one start with the restrictions in Asia? Infrastructure, airspace limitations and endless regulations are among the challenges faced in this region. This is where an operator or broker can really add value and a reason why, in its current state, pricing apps and newer technology are of no major threat.  Experience counts for everything in Asia and there are seemingly no simple trips.  

The countries where generally there are no aircraft available for charter, such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, are all very private jet friendly.  Myanmar takes a bit longer to get permits and permissions, however, the others can be obtained quickly and often in a matter of hours. 

The private jet charter market in Asia is still in its infancy with plenty of room for growth.

FUTURE OF CHARTER 

The future is bright for private jet charter; you only have to look at the number of millionaires and billionaires in China alone. The private jet charter market in Asia is still in its infancy with plenty of room for growth. Hopefully, with the easing of restrictions, red tape and improved infrastructure we can see private jet movement becoming less challenging and more affordable.

Charter Report, 2018Bowen Zhang