Business Aviation Interviews

An Interview with Amber Aviation

An Interview with Amber Aviation
Quisheng Chang
Quisheng Chang
Chairman & President Amber Aviation

How did the idea behind AmberNet come about?

Aircraft management has always been Amber Aviation’s core focus. At the same time, we always realized the need to introduce other innovative products. After the advent of COVID-19, we saw the needs of the market: clients have less desire to own an aircraft but have more demand for using business jets.

Therefore, we hope to bridge the gap with our Shared Lease, Jet Card, and Membership programs, which could help make flying private more affordable.

NetJets and Amber Aviation have entered a partnership that includes NetJets’ investment in the company and support in building Amber’s business jet fleet with the transfer of a number of G450s that Amber Aviation will operate. With the G450s operated under our AOC, it also provides the opportunity to offer long-term service in the Asian market to NetJets Owners.

With new aircraft and new products in the works, we wanted to distinguish this from the main Amber Aviation brand which mainly focuses on aircraft management, flight operations support, and aircraft maintenance services. With its unique products, a separate brand identity was needed, and this is how AmberNet, the new sub-brand of Amber Aviation, was created. The name comes from a combination of Amber Aviation and Net, with the Net coming from the global aircraft network that our clients can now benefit from.

The Shared Lease Program is the first of its kind in China, can you tell us all about it, please?

We saw the need to introduce something unique to the Asian market, a product that filled a gap between charter and aircraft ownership.

Clients joining the shared lease program will enjoy the same status as if they owned the whole aircraft themselves but without the high costs associated with aircraft ownership. They also do not have to worry about asset depreciation risks, nor get involved with all the details like finding suitable aircraft parking, maintenance, crew, etc.

What are the key selling points of the program?

Clients can purchase hours based on their travel needs, with the shared lease program starting as few as 50 hours per year.

Availability on our Gulfstream G450 fleet is guaranteed, and we only require a minimum notice period of 24 hours. We also do not charge ferry fees provided certain conditions are met.

No operator in the region has a fleet of charter aircraft based on the same aircraft type which is as large as Amber’s. There is also no operator in the region offering this shared lease product which is a first in Asia. This is Amber’s unique selling point and could be the right solution for aircraft owners who are selling or have sold their aircraft but still require the convenience, flexibility, or status that comes with aircraft ownership.

Our shared lease program is not restrictive in that clients are not bound by lengthy contract terms. It’s a 1-year contract based on utilization of as low as 50 hours per year.

Why is now the right time to launch the new program?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the region’s business jet industry. Other economic factors have also contributed to an outflow of aircraft from the Greater China region. However, the industry’s long-term outlook remains very positive with robust growth expected as the market recalibrates itself and continues to evolve and mature.

With the gradual re-opening of international borders around the region, we anticipate there is significant pent-up demand for business jet use, both for business and leisure. The pandemic also served as a catalyst for unlocking a new group of clients; those who could afford to fly private but previously didn’t. We expect this group, which now puts safety, privacy, and comfort as a top priority, to make the switch from flying first or business class to flying private. Our new fleet of aircraft will enable us to capture this demand once all border and quarantine restrictions are fully lifted.

Looking to the medium and long term, we see a lot of potential. In mainland China, there are roughly 5 million millionaires and this is projected to double in the coming five years. The current number of UHNWIs is also expected to roughly double by 2025. The increase in wealth will correlate to an increase in spending on high-end services, so our products will be the perfect solution as flying private becomes more popular. Add to this our aircraft management service which complements well with the new products on offer. This allows us to capture the market on every part of the spectrum, from on-demand chartering to fractional leasing to aircraft management.

We understand that it takes time for clients to become familiarized with the concept of fractional leasing so we’re laying the foundation now at the tail end of the pandemic in preparation for future market growth.

Why is the Gulfstream G450 the right aircraft for the program?

Our focus is Asia Pacific and the Gulfstream G450 is perfectly suited to cover this region while offering a large-cabin solution to clients and their families and/or business associates.

How has the reception to the new program been?

Feedback from clients has been very positive and they are looking forward to experiencing the AmberNet product now that our aircraft have arrived with more on the way.

The new products have quickly filled the gap in the current business jet market. Our shared lease program provides clients with all the benefits of aircraft ownership without significant capital investment.

Aircraft owners traditionally have had to deal with various fixed and variable costs, such as parking, handling, maintenance, crew, etc. The shared lease program is now an excellent solution for clients looking to simplify the whole process.

The sharing economy is becoming more popular and accepted. The shift in consumer behavior means that the fractional leasing model is one that a certain group of potential aircraft owners would be drawn to as it makes the most economic sense.

The simplicity and transparency of our jet card program are ideal for clients who fly less than 50 hours per year but still want the best in terms of service and convenience.

AmberNet’s membership program, which allows its members to take advantage of complimentary ferry flights, makes it stand out among other products on the market and could be an attractive option for clients looking to fly private for the first time.

There is very little uniformity when it comes to service standards in Asia. The same could be said for safety. Clients are already aware that we put service and safety as a top priority. With our company’s latest developments, this gives our clients a further sense of reassurance and lets them know that we adhere to the highest standards.

What we did to set up the core fleet of AmberNet?

Since August 2021, Amber has spent a great deal of time developing products that suit the Asian market.

We had many meaningful conversations with our potential clients to understand how they travel and what they want. We understand that it is difficult to have only one product to meet the diverse needs of the market, so we introduced three products that cater to different clients and needs. In addition to this, we have combined our 20 years of experience in the business jet industry to further localize our products.

In addition to providing our clients with the largest charter fleet in Asia, we wanted them to benefit from a truly global network, ensuring that they can enjoy seamless business jet travel to other parts of the world.

Through our research, we have learned that aircraft cleanliness has always been an important factor in our clients’ travel experience. Standards of on-demand charter services in the region vary greatly, and cabin hygiene and cleanliness are not always guaranteed. To ensure we consistently offer the best experience to our clients, we have further strengthened this aspect by establishing our own dedicated in-house aircraft cleaning team, meeting world-class standards.

With its sub-brand, this meant that the crew and customer service team would be separated from the Amber Aviation side and would service customers under AmberNet only.

How can AmberNet benefit Amber’s existing clients?

Amber’s existing clients can benefit from having guaranteed aircraft availability through AmberNet’s growing fleet. When our management clients’ aircraft are unavailable due to maintenance or AOG, AmberNet’s fleet will be available to support them as needed.

When overseas, Amber Aviation’s management clients can gain access to an expansive FBO network in the U.S. and Europe. Amber Aviation’s management clients will also be entitled to a special pilot training rate.

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