British-based chartered aircraft providers Air Charter Service (ACS) has revealed it will be developing its Chinese operations by upgrading to larger offices in Beijing.
The move to bigger, better-placed headquarters within the city comes in preparation for the company’s China expansion plan, which will see the company courting the nation’s growing elite. Managing director of ACS China, Wanny Wu, said: “The new office is in the heart of the business district of the city and doubles the size of our previous premises.
“This is an exciting time for the Chinese aviation industry, with the government’s plans to increase the number of airports from 220 to 260 by the end of 2020. When you think that the US has more than 5,000 airports and airfields, there is still a long way to go, but we are heading in the right direction.”
In February of this year, Air Charter Service revealed total revenues of USD 677million in 2017, a year-over-year increase of 39% in 2016. The figures don’t just a healthy bank balance but also a notable uptick in interest for private flying in general and in China, as Wu picks up on.
“Ten years ago it was still a novelty for people to use a business jet”
Wu went on to add: “The Chinese private jet market also has a lot of room to grow. Ten years ago it was still a novelty for people to use a business jet, but today it’s really starting to become a part of everyday life for hundreds of people. It’s also much easier to operate an aircraft in China today than it was ten years ago due, in part, to the gradual liberalisation of airspace. There are more than one million millionaires in China, so our potential customer base is huge and will increase as people continue to learn of the benefits of private aviation.”
It’s not just private jets that are boosting Air Charter Service. Wu continued: “Our cargo operation has also gone from strength to strength – we doubled the size of our cargo team and saw triple-digit growth in charter numbers last year. We have ambitious expansion plans in China and in this new office we now have the space to triple the team size in the coming years.”
In 2015 Air Charter Service announced that it would be investing £10 million ($15 million) in charter technology over the course of the next five years. Chris Leach, founder and chairman of Air Charter Service, said: “While we believe that the award-winning personal service that we offer will never be replaced entirely by technology, we are adopting the traditional brokerage model.
“We are currently revamping and redeveloping all of our websites, with enhanced functionality, with the planned release date in the spring. We are developing real-time customer information portals and are planning on investing in other disruptive technology over the next few years.”
ACS currently operates in 34 countries: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela.