SHANGHAI - Participants in an upcoming air show in Shanghai on Monday said they believed China's business jet market would continue to boom.
Paris-based Dassault Aviation said it predicted robust business growth in the China market in 2012, with the number of business jets it operates in the Chinese mainland expected to rise to 24 by the end of the year, tripling the current figure.
Dassault said China had overtaken the United States and Europe to become its top market in sales last year.
Dassault is among a handful of businesses attending the 2012 Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE), sponsored by the U.S. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Asian Business Aviation Association. The three-day event is to be held in Shanghai on Tuesday.
NBAA CEO Ed Bolen said the market potential for business jets in China is huge and Shanghai, in particular, is expected to become a center for the global business aviation sector.
He said the ABACE air show will be held in Shanghai for five straight years from 2012 to 2016.
China has witnessed a boom in the business aviation market over the past few years. The number of business jets registered in the country surged to 132 last year, a steep rise from only 32 in 2008. The time for business jet flight application had also been reduced from seven days to just one.
In Shanghai, a one-stop business jet service center was set up in 2010, capable of serving 6,000 business jet flights a year.
Previously, business jets in the Asian-Pacific region were mostly maintained in Singapore.
Shanghai's airports handled about one-third of China's business jet flights in 2011 and the percentage is expected to further grow by 10 to 15 percent this year, said Jing Yiming, deputy executive of Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Center, one of the leading aircraft service companies.
Shanghai will witness the take-off of China's business aviation in the future with the city's growing prominence in the country and the region's economic growth, Jing said.