Wealthy Chinese charter flights to watch Olympics

Updated: 2012-08-09 08:08

By Yu Ran in Shanghai (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

 Wealthy Chinese charter flights to watch Olympics

Chinese fans wave flags as they watch the London 2012 Olympic Games. Guo Yong / Xinhua

Wealthy Chinese sports fans have been chartering private jets from Shanghai to London to watch the Olympic Games.

More than five chartered jets have set off from Shanghai Hong-qiao International Airport for the British capital since the start of the Games, according to an airport immigration officer who did not want to be identified.

"More than 40 passengers, mostly Shanghai businessmen, traveled with their families and friends to the Olympic Games in chartered planes," he said.

The officer predicted more people will charter flights ahead of the Games closing ceremony on Sunday.

According to Jing Yiming, vice-president of Shanghai Airport Group, 132 business jets were registered in the Chinese mainland in 2011, up from 32 in 2008.

The business charter market in China is expanding, with more companies providing services to meet the needs of wealthy businessmen.

"Demand from regular clients has increased dramatically in the past three years, as more people have realized that chartered flights are a better choice than waiting in an airport for hours," said Wang Jiale, a sales representative for Deer Jet, a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines.

Deer Jet offered charter services for soccer fans to fly to the European Championship in June and July, and is now sending clients to London for the Games.

The cost of the charter service exceeds 1 million yuan ($157,000) for a round trip, and requires a reservation at least one week in advance.

"Taking an overseas trip in our chartered flights has become more popular as wealthy businessmen want privacy with their friends and family," said Wang.

He said chartered flights have become trendy among wealthy businessmen for meetings, private activities and family trips.

"I've heard that a Zhejiang businessman used the charter service just to attend a wedding in Italy," Wang said.

"I'm not sure if our plane has been charted for the London Olympics, but we have increased our charter flight services for businessmen both in China and overseas to meet the increasing demand," said Wang Jian, board secretary of China Eastern Airlines.

Wang Jian said the charter flight service enables groups of individuals to take long-distance trips in peak seasons without worrying about failing to book a plane ticket.

"I would like to try the charter flight service in the future for family trips, which will definitely be more enjoyable, "said Guan Hongsheng, a businessman from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.

Guan added that private jets have been popular abroad for some time, and it is a trend that will become increasingly common in China as wealthy people seek increased privacy.


(China Daily 08/09/2012 page7)