“We aim to offer our clients the full spectrum of business jet services, including maintenance, FBOs, charter, and aircraft management”.
Denzil White, CEO of Hongkong Jet
China Aviation News, Singapore: When Denzil White first took over Hongkong Jet as CEO in July 2015, the company managed 19 aircraft, comprising eight Gulfstream aircraft, five Bombardier business jets, three Airbus corporate jets, one Boeing business jet, one Dassault Falcon 7X, and one Embraer Legacy 650 business jet. Eleven month sunder White’s leadership, Hongkong Jet has expanded with 25 aircraft under management, adding three BBJs, one Gulfstream, one ACJ, and one Dassault on the team while replacing one Bombardier aircraft. Aiming to provide the full rangeof business jet services to its clients, Deer Jet, Hongkong Jet’s parent company acquired shares in Hawker Pacific in 2015, adding additional FBO and maintenance services to its capacity; in April 2016, Hongkong Jet further announced its acquisition of Asia Jet, strengthening its charter capability inthe region.
At June’s Corporate Jet Investor Asia 2016 conference in Singapore, China Aviation News Special Correspondent Tianyao Michelle Xiao conducted an interview with Denzil White regarding Hongkong Jet’s current achievements and future planning.
M. Xiao: Can you provide some updateson the acquisition of Asia Jet?
D. White: Asia Jet is an expert in aircraft charter operations, with a well-established brand in the region. Hongkong Jet was looking to expand its charter capability, and the acquisition will give usovernight, a much broader charter capability to serve a larger group ofclients. There are very few areas where we overlap in terms of business: we have maintenance facilities and an AOC, which is an Aircraft Operating Certificate, to do charter, while Asia Jet serves its charter business through Jet Edge, an U.S. charter company and does not provide maintenance. Moreover, the expansion in charter business will generate rewarding revenue for Hongkong Jet to offset the substantial overheads of operating on an AOC. Therefore, it was a logical step for us to make an offer to purchase Asia Jet. We made aproposal to them, and both parties have now agreed on the terms. Thus, it’s just a case of closing the deal, which we will do before the end of the second quarter: sometime this month, or into July, but certainly before the middle ofthe year.
M. Xiao: Can you also provide some information about the acquisition of Hawker Pacific? What is the strategy behind the two recent acquisitions?
D. White: Hawker Pacific is a leading international FBO and MRO provider, well-established in Australia, Singapore, and Shanghai for many years. Since Hongkong Jet aims to offer its clients the full spectrum of business jet services, including maintenance, FBOs, charter, and aircraft management, we believe that partnering with Hawker Pacific will greatly strengthen our position in FBO operations and maintenance services. We have anexcellent relationship with Hawker Pacific, and we are very pleased with whatthe relationship is bringing us.
M. Xiao: Can you elaborate on the current slot constraints at Hong Kong international airport, and your suggestion for a solution?
D. White: Hong Kong is an international aviation hub,with large flow of passengers flying in and out every day for business or leisure. However, compared to other international cities, Hong Kong has only one airport, which is operating very close to maximum capacity. Moreover, withthe airport prioritizing commercial aviation over business aviation, it is harder for business jet operators to secure slots at the airport, causing frequent delays in operations.
As for a solution, I think there is a big opportunity to form an economic free zone linking Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai. With the liberation of airspace within the Pearl River Delta (PRD) area, slot constraints will be greatly relieved as flight operators could then operate their jets into any one of the PRD airports and transport passengers to their destination by helicopter.
Obviously, the success of the plan is going to take government’s approval and interventions. The government needs to be visionary, to look for the next 15 years, of how they are going to make the PRD compete with other cities in the world for business and opportunities. The government is concerned with relieving the congestion at Hong Kong International Airport and is in the process of adding additional parking and landing slots for business aviation. The Asia Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) is actively involve din supporting government in finding workable solutions. The AsBAA meets with Hong Kong international airport and Hong Kong Civil Aviation Authority on aregular basis, seeking solutions on how to alleviate the current airportcongestion problem in Hong Kong. Granted, the Chinese central government is to ultimately take decision on how these special regions will be integrated at the end of the day. I’m hopeful that the government will recognize the importance of the integration and support the development of business aviation through favorable policies.
M. Xiao: As the CEO for Hongkong Jet, what is your goal or strategy for Hongkong Jet to excel in the next five years?
D. White: We are working towards our goal of doubling in size in the next five years. With 150 employees, we now have the capability to offer our clients the full spectrum of services in business aviation. Because of our relationship with Hainan Airlines, Deer Jet, Asia Jet and Hawker Pacific, we are able to achieve economies of scale and offer services to our clients at very reasonable pricing, which makes us very competitive in the market. Moreover, what makes Hongkong Jet stand out is not only our focus on maintaining the asset value of our clients’ aircraft, but also our dedication on cutting operational cost for our clients by achieving economies of scale. We welcome new clients to bring their aircraft to Hongkong Jet. We will be very pleased to look after them, as well as generate revenue for those who would like their aircraft to be chartered.
M. Xiao: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our Chinese readers?
D. White: Yes. China has huge opportunity in business aviation in terms of growth, but it is still an immature market. I think it’s important that the regulators and the authorities recognize business aviationfor what it does for the community, and provide suitable infrastructure for business jets at all the airports that are being developed in China. This way, the owners of business jets can pioneer business in cities connected through these new airports, and grow China’s business throughout the region. Thus, I think China is a promising market overall, but it really depends on theregulators opening the skies and allowing business aviation to flourish. Thank you very much.