Gou-invested business aviation firm opens doors

34


The China Post news staff

A business aviation company invested in by Hon Hai Group founder Terry Gou started operations in Taipei Friday. The new firm aims to increase the number of its jets to 20 from the current five in the next five years and then form the largest business aviation alliance in Asia with partners in China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Fei Hung-jun, general manager of Huajie Commercial Airline, said the company is the first business aviation firm in Taiwan to provide international standard aviation services, including chartered flights, airplane management, and jet transactions. There are presently 20 members in the new company, including five pilots and two airborne secretaries. Fei said Huajie — literally meaning “China Express” — has five Gulfstream business jets, including three registered in Taiwan and two overseas. The company’s Gulfstream G550 plane is the first private business jet registered in the Republic of China, he said. The two currently registered abroad can be transferred to Taiwan anytime. The business aviation service industry in American and European countries have long matured while enterprises based in China, Hong Kong, and Macau have been accelerating the pace to catch up. But Taiwan has fallen far behind in the business sector since there are only 500 business aviation flights each year, compared with 4,000 in Hong Kong, Fei said. Yet this also means there is plenty room for growth in Taiwan, he stressed. The company’s Gulfstream G550 jet alone is capable of providing about 100 commercial flight services each year. The jet has four crew members with capacity for 14 passengers for a flight trip. The company is planning to expand its airplane fleet to 20 within five years to meet the expected growing market demand, especially across the Taiwan Strait. A more ambitious plan for the company is to forge the largest regional business aviation alliance in Asia in cooperation with partners in the three areas of China, Hong Kong, and Macau, Fei added. The launch of the business aviation company by the Hon Hai Group, which includes Hon Hai Precision Industry and Foxconn as affiliates, coincides with the government’s plan to push forward commercial flight services in Taiwan. The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), has been working on a plan to set up a separate and independent business-flight center at the Songshan Airport in Taipei City. Officials said the center and service of private aviation companies are necessary to accommodate the needs of senior business executives and others in emergency flight cases, including transporting people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait in emergency cases like urgent medical treatment. According to executives of Universal Weather and Aviation Inc. who recently visited Taiwan, Taipei’s Songshan Airport has great potential to become a major business aviation center comparable to the airport in Hong Kong in a relatively short period.

The airport in Taipei City is set to resume long-suspended direct flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo after launching direct flight services to Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai in China.