NetJets invests in Chinese private jet operator Amber Aviation

NetJets will return to Asia via an investment in Shenzen-based Amber Aviation, which includes providing 20 private jets.

By Doug Gollan, November 16, 2021

Amber Aviation said today it has closed a Series B funding round, including financing from existing investor Hony Capital. However, the big news is that among the new investors is NetJets.

Fung Investment and Macau-based Liu’s Group are also backing the Shenzen-base operator.

NetJets will assist Amber in building a core fleet of private jets. That includes transferring up to 20 aircraft over the next two years from its existing fleet.

The jets will then be operated under Amber Aviation’s AOC.

“This partnership with Amber Aviation offers NetJets a unique opportunity to provide long-term service in the Asian Market to our owners,” said Adam Johnson, NetJets Chairman and CEO.

He added, “The team at Amber Aviation shares NetJets’ commitment to safety and service and is a truly collaborative partner that we look forward to working with alongside our respected co-investors.”

The world’s largest private jet operator will assist Amber in acquiring private jets from OEMs, with whom NetJets has long relationships. NetJets has orders with Bombardier, Textron, and Embraer.

Amber Aviation jet card

Amber Aviation is setting up a jet card, a membership club, and a shared lease program.

“The shared lease program will be amongst the first in China,” said Mr. Chang Qiusheng, Founder and President of Amber Aviation.

He added, “There’s a huge gap in the market for charter users that wish to take the next step towards full aircraft ownership given the financial undertaking required. By bridging the gap with our shared lease, jet card, and membership programs, Amber Aviation will help grow the number of business aviation users in Asia, which will benefit the whole industry.”

There is plenty of room to grow. According to WingX, there were 979 charter and fractional flights in the Asia/Pacific over the past month. That’s similar to the weekly total for Germany in one week.

Over the same trailing four weeks, there were 92,397 fractional and charter flights in the U.S.

Another difference is the makeup of the market. In the U.S., fractional and charter flights accounted for 45% of total business jet movements over the past month. In Asia, they made up just 13% of the region’s total.

NetJets aircraft transfer

Amber will receive its first aircraft from NetJets in April 2022. The remaining jets are due to be transferred before the end of 2023. NetJets will assist by providing service support, sales assistance, product design, and legal support.

“I’d like to thank everybody on both the Amber Aviation and NetJets sides for working so hard to make this happen. I am incredibly proud that NetJets chose Amber to be its partner, as it demonstrates how far Amber Aviation has come in the past four years since being set up.”

“With NetJets’ assistance, we can quickly build up the available fleet of aircraft so that we can be ready once international borders fully reopen. We understand that the size of the fleet is very important, so by having aircraft in place ready, we are sure that we can be successful,” he continued.

Amber plans to base the new aircraft across the region. Locations include Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Macau, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Clients will have guaranteed availability on NetJets’ fleet in the U.S. and Europe. They will also be invited to NetJets events.

The investment markets NetJets’ return to Asia. According to Corporate Jet Investor, NetJets set up a China division in 2012 as a joint venture with Hony Jinsi Investment Management (Beijing) Ltd and Fung Investments. After receiving its AOC in 2014, it exited in 2017.

Training and safety

Amber Aviation plans to use Flight Safety International, a sister company to NetJets, for pilot training.

Amber Aviation was founded in February 2017 with branch offices in Beijing and Shanghai and wholly-owned subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Macau.

In 2020, it achieved IS-BAO Stage 2 status.

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