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FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE

Sino Jet flies execs worldwide from HKG

Chinese use of personal jets for business and pleasure fuels growth of Hong Kong air travel company.


Maintenance and scheduling

Flight Attendant Maggie Cheng prepares international cuisine. All Sino Jet cabin professionals play vital roles in maintaining the company's reputation.

General Mgr Maintenance Paul Kwok was one of Sino Jet's first employees and works with 3 maintenance professionals to support HKG and PEK (Beijing, China) line maintenance and assist with AOGs in the field. He says, "We subcontract most maintenance to Metrojet at HKG but prefer to be able to deal with AOG events with inhouse staff.

HKBAC is an extremely crowded and busy environment, space is limited and maintenance logistics can be challenging. Additional maintenance support facilities for Bombardier, Embraer and Gulfstream equipment are available at XSP (Seletar, Singapore)."

Based at PEK, Chief Rep Beijing Office Kenny Chang oversees Sino Jet scheduling with a team of 3 PEK and 5 HKG-based schedulers. Scheduling challenges within this region, he says, involve long permit lead times, limited options in permit changes and constant communication with CAAC, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force and local handlers.

"On the mainland there's some resistance to permit and schedule changes—particularly at airports with a strong air force or navy presence," he says. "While the mainland market continues to open up it's still critical to use well connected supervisory handlers, especially at secondary locations. We depend on Universal Aviation China to position supervisory handlers at locations where local handlers are not as familiar with business aviation."

Growth opportunities

Global Express with Sino Jet's Beijing operations on the flightline at PEK.

Lau envisions continuing growth in locally-based business aircraft opportunities. With HKG's strained infrastructure capacity, however, more options need to be considered in terms of basing aircraft. By year end, Sino Jet expects to have a Chinese air operator's certificate in place.

This will allow the company to base, and locally charter, aircraft on the mainland. Other priorities, says Lau, are to increase inhouse maintenance capability and, ideally, to concentrate on expanding certain fleet types in order to reduce type mix.

"We see potential for many new flight departments and business aviation opportunities in China and the region," says Lau. "The local market continues to grow and we see nothing slowing this growth over the foreseeable future.

As China opens access to new airways and low-level airspace, and continues investment in general aviation support and airport infrastructure, this should boost the entire market. It's an exciting time to be involved with business aviation in this region."

Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.

 


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