Charter Report Market Intelligence

Market Overview – Charter Report 2022

Market Overview – Charter Report 2022

As of June 30, 2022, there were 339 business jets used on charter flights in Asia-Pacific, which is an increase of 12 aircraft from 327 charter jets in 2020. After experiencing a decline of 2.7% between 2018 and 2020, the charter fleet has now fully recovered and seen growth of 3.7% between 2020 and 2022.

With the largest charter fleet in Asia-Pacific, Oceania’s 95 charter jets outperformed other subregions for the first time. Oceania also saw the highest growth in Asia-Pacific, largely thanks to the addition of 18 aircraft in Australia and New Zealand, which helped the subregion grow by 23.4%. Of the two countries, Australia saw the most net additions, and in doing so became the country with the most charter jets in APAC – with 81 charter jets.

Although Greater China saw the steepest decline in its charter fleets with negative growth since 2018, it is still the subregion that comes behind Oceania with 84 charter jets.

Mainland China, Macao SAR and Taiwan’s charter fleet all contracted, while the fleet in Hong Kong SAR grew by 50% with the net addition of three pre-owned aircraft, as a result of more business jet owners tending to put their aircraft for charter when they don’t use them, to try to help offset the management fee and fixed cost. In contrast to its size-reduced business jet fleet – most of the business jets leaving Hong Kong SAR were for private or corporate use. Mainland China, which lost the most charter aircraft, with the majority being large and medium sized, was overtaken by Australia in 2022 after being the country with the largest charter fleet since 2018.

Despite the reduction in growth from 17.9% in 2020 to 1.3% in 2022, Southeast Asia retained its position as the third largest subregion in Asia-Pacific with 80 charter jets. Singapore, which registered the largest net charter fleet additions between 2018 and 2020, saw no change in its fleet between 2020 and 2022.

Similar to Greater China, the charter fleets in South Asia – including India and Bangladesh – also saw consecutive drops from 2018 to 2022. Compared to the previous period, South Asia saw a net deduction of two charter jets, with a total of 60 charter aircraft. India – the country with the third largest charter fleet – led the change in South Asia.

East Asia, which includes Japan – the main driver of growth – and South Korea, recorded a net addition of one charter jet, resulting in a modest 5.3% increase, and took the total number of charter jets to 20.

Overall, Asia-Pacific’s business jet charter fleet stood at 339 aircraft at the end of June 2022, increasing 3.7% over the two-year period from 2020. There was a net growth of 12 aircraft, as a result of seven new deliveries, 48 pre-owned additions, a net change of five aircraft to charter operations, and 48 deductions.

Textron, now with a market share of 29%, has been the OEM with the biggest fleet in APAC since 2016, and saw growth of 5.4% in the two years to June 2022. It also had the second-highest number of pre-owned additions during the period. This was followed closely by Bombardier with a market share of 28% contributed by the largest number of new deliveries and pre-owned additions. Bombardier has experienced consecutive growth since our first Charter Report in 2016, and the gap between it and Textron became smaller from ten charter jets in 2018 to two in 2022. Gulfstream retained third place, although its fleet has continuously declined since 2018.

The combined market share of the three dominating OEMs reached 72%, and hasn’t changed much from 2018 to 2020. As for the smaller OEMs categorized as “Others”, they registered the greatest growth of 23.5%, with a net addition of four aircraft, thanks to Nextant (two aircraft), Pilatus (one aircraft), and Honda (one aircraft).

1. Aircraft size category is defined in the appendix on page 48.
2. Other OEMs include Dornier, Fokker, Honda, IAI, Nextant and Pilatus.
1. Offshore Registrations include Aruba, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Malta and San Marino.
2. Others indicate any registration except for Local, US and Offshore.

Affected by the previous COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent travel restrictions, a shift toward domestic flights has led to corresponding changes in charter operators’ fleets in many Asia-Pacific countries, namely the shrinking of Large jet charter fleets and the expansion of Light jet charter fleets. Mainland China, one of the places with the strictest border measures, saw the biggest net deduction in Large charter jets – nine units, while Australia witnessed the largest net addition in Light charter jets – eight units. Therefore, with the second-highest growth of 16.7%, the Light jet category took the place of the Large jet category and became the most popular size category in the APAC region for the first time with a total of 105 charter jets. The Citation 550 (II/IISP/SII/Bravo) was the most popular charter model in Asia-Pacific with 16 charter aircraft in operation. After seeing a consecutive drop since 2018, the Large jet category fell to the second spot with 24 aircraft fewer than the Light category. The G450 and Legacy 650 both witnessed the greatest net reduction of five aircraft. But the Falcon 2000 family saw no change, remaining the most popular large-sized charter model with 15 charter jets. The Long Range category, which came third, saw the biggest growth at 29.5%, likely due to the gradual relaxation of restrictions on global travel in the current post-pandemic era. Bombardier’s relatively new Global 7500 recorded the biggest net addition – six aircraft, followed by the Falcon 7X with four aircraft. The Global 6000 was the most popular long-range charter model, also with 15 jets in charter service.

In general, with an average age of around 16 years at the end of June 2022, the charter fleet in Asia-Pacific was young relative to North America – with more than half (55%) being less than 15 years old. However, 29% of charter jets (98 units) were over 20 years old, most of which were Light aircraft (47 units) and Large aircraft (28 units).

It is worth noting that as an aircraft ages, it becomes less fuel efficient, so much so that environmental regulations and modernization requirements have shortened aircraft retirement ages. Because of this, it is likely that a significant number of older aircraft will be replaced in the next three to five years.

With an average age of 21 years, the Light aircraft fleet was the oldest charter fleet in APAC. In contrast, the Long-Range aircraft fleet was the youngest, with an average age of nine years. Malaysia had the oldest charter fleet – an average of 23 years, while Vietnam was the home to the youngest fleet, with an average age of five years.

There were seven new deliveries, 48 pre-owned additions, five net aircraft that changed their roles to charter, and 48 deductions, which all contributed to a net increase of 12 business charter jets since 2020. Compared to the charter market during the period between 2018 and 2020, the number of pre-owned additions increased, whilst the number of deductions decreased. Nearly half of the charter jets leaving the APAC region were from Greater China. The United States was the main destination for the aircraft that left Asia-Pacific.

1. Offshore Registrations include Aruba, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Malta and San Marino.
Others indicate any registration except for Local, US and Offshore.

Australia (VH-), mainland China (B-), and India (VT-) were the top three most popular charter aircraft registries in the APAC region, with 93, 63, and 57 charter jets, respectively. Together they accounted for 63% of the total Asia-Pacific fleet.

Most of the operators in the top three charter markets – Australia, mainland China, and India preferred local registrations. Business jets available for charter operations in Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam were all locally registered. The reason behind this is that many major charter markets in APAC, including China, Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea, all have their own cabotage regulations to protect domestic operators, meaning that foreign-registered aircraft are not allowed to perform domestic flights. Despite Japan also having cabotage regulations, because of the frequent business travel to and from the US, it also had the largest number of US. “N” registration charter aircraft, comprising 47% of its charter fleet. This was closely followed by Malaysia, with 45% of its charter fleet registered in the US. In contrast, Hong Kong SAR and Singapore had no charter jets with local registration due to their relatively small areas. In this case, foreign registration will be more convenient for cross-subregion flights. The majority of charter jets (67%) in Hong Kong SAR were offshore registered, while 59% of Singapore’s charter fleet was registered in Australia.

Unlike most Light charter aircraft that were operated and registered locally, more and more Long-Range aircraft were registered offshore due to the most significant advantage of offshore registration, including flexibility in global operations, which contributed to the prosperity of the offshore registry market. In 2022, the offshore registered charter aircraft fleet saw a net addition of nine aircraft (42.9% growth), of which Long Range charter jets saw a net addition of six units. The 19 Long Range charter aircraft accounted for 63% of the entire offshore registered charter fleet.

San Marino remained the most popular offshore registry in Asia-Pacific, with 18 charter jets having the “T7-” registration, most of which were operated by TAG Aviation. In recent years, TAG has registered an increasing number of charter aircraft in San Marino. “The clear guidelines, policies and procedures provided by the Registry and Civil Aviation Authority makes our product predictable, scalable and efficient. This is essential for TAG in order to serve the needs of our clients in a timely and compliant manner”, said Ray Wilson, Director of Operations, TAG Aviation San Marino and Asia.The Cayman Islands overtook Malta and came second with seven charter jets with “VP-C” registration – the culmination of three pre-owned additions and four aircraft that changed their role to charter. Phenix Jet was the main operator of these “VP-C” registered charter jets (five of seven).