Private jet makers eye China's billionaires
Hong Kong: The Phoenix Cabin has all the amenities that a billionaire might want in a private jet: plush leather chairs, soft carpet, and a flat-screen TV to watch while criss-crossing the globe.india Updated: Mar 11, 2011 22:05 IST
The Phoenix Cabin has all the amenities that a billionaire might want in a private jet: plush leather chairs, soft carpet, and a flat-screen TV to watch while criss-crossing the globe.
But with its red hues - traditionally a lucky colour in China - and centrepiece round table that doubles for playing mahjong, Airbus is setting its sights on the growing number of ultra-rich Chinese who can afford to shell out upwards of $65 million for their very own home and office in the sky.
"The round table with a Lazy Susan is the Chinese way of sharing and spending time together," said Francois Chazelle, vice-president of worldwide sales at Airbus corporate jets, at an air show that wrapped up in Hong Kong on Thursday.
Europe's Airbus said its private jet operation set a company record last year, delivering 15 planes worth $1.5 billion, with China standing out as the firm's fastest-growing market. Chinese customers accounted for about 25% of business jet sales at Airbus in 2010.
Driving that surge is China's red-hot economy, which has produced about 875,000 millionaires and almost 200 billionaires, according to the Hurun Rich List, the Chinese equivalent of the Forbes richlist.
Rival Bombardier is forecasting the industry will make 600 business jet deliveries in China between 2010 and 2019, while US-based Gulfstream is also boosting its presence in mainland China. "The race is on - there is a lot of activity right now in China," Chazelle said.