By Qiang Xiaoji
Shanghai Deer Jet Co, a subsidiary of HNA Group, China’s fourth largest commercial aviation group, has won permission from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to provide business aviation services, the Oriental Morning Post reported. Business aviation service is attractive to high-end customers, as it allows them to decide their own routes and departure times and can cover remote areas, compared with general commercial flights. The service is still administered by a uniformed aviation safety system. Deer Jet owns two Hawker 800XP jets, which it will use for high-end customers. The jets provide meeting areas, bars, restrooms, sound equipments, DVDs, satellite telephones and Internet access, which enable passengers to work during the flight. In recent years, many airline companies have eyed the great potential in the business aviation market. But China’s business aviation industry is still in its infant stage. Only four domestic companies — Deer Jet, Air China Business Jet, Shanghai Airlines, and Shandong Rainbow Business Aircraft Co — operate business jet services with no more than 30 planes, mainly in Beijing and Shanghai, and over 80 percent of the flights are on international routes. Most of the companies have mediocre performances and some have seen long-time losses. Ma Xulun, general manager of Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines, China’s third largest carrier by fleet size, said they provide aviation services for other companies’ jets, but have no plan to introduce their own business jets within the next two years. China Eastern is set to increase its Shanghai market share to 50 percent from the current 35 percent after taking over Shanghai Airlines. Shareholders of both companies approved the proposed merger last month.