Shared business flights are under way
Updated: 2016-04-12 12:48
By Guo Kai(chinadaily.com.cn)
A worker cleans a plane taking part in the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition 2016, which runs from April 12 to 14 at Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport, on April 11, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
Like using ride-sharing apps to book a trip, now people can book a flight on a shared business jet through apps. Companies started the service while the business flight market is growing at a slower pace in China.
People might spend hundreds of thousands of yuan on a chartered flight, but they can take a seat on a shared business jet at a regular flight's first class fare, said Ji Guang, a vice president of Hong Kong-based Global Wings Aviation Holding Co's Beijing company that developed the app "Wo Yao Pin Ji", or "I Want to Share a Flight".
The lower price for the shared business flight is due to the jet already making a return trip to its base, Ji told Shanghai Morning Post at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition 2016, which runs today to Thursday in Shanghai.
According to industry figures, about 2,500 return business flights were empty in China last year, which provides great resources for the service, he said.
Purchasing a private jet or booking a chartered flight is still the privilege of the top high-net-worth individuals in China, but shared business flights would help more people to enjoy the service, Ji said.
Along with the country's slow economic growth, fewer high-net-worth individuals can buy private jets and take chartered flights, but they can still enjoy business flights through the service his company offering, he said.
Ji said that the cost of a seat on a 15-seat business jet from Shanghai to Changchun on April 20 will be 6,666 yuan ($1,030) through his company's app.
He admitted that because the shared business flights are available when the jets are on fixed return flights, timing is one problem to overcome to attract more passengers.
Therefore, the company so far offers the service in 11 cities popular for business flights, he said. These are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Sanya, Chengdu, Shenyang, Hong Kong, Macao, Tokyo and Seoul.
China has seen 3.8 percent growth in business jets last year, a pace much slower than 2014, according to the latest report from aviation consultancy company Asian Sky Group.
But China still had the largest team of business jets in Asia, a total of 300, the report says.
By comparison, that was far behind the US market, where there were about 17,000 business aircraft, according to the Washington-based National Business Aviation Association.