TAG Aviation is making a big move into the Chinese market as a joint venture partner with China First Mandarin Group (CFMG). The preliminary agreement was announced today at the Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show here in Dubai.
A key feature of the partnership is the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and the 145 maintenance authority held by CFMG’s First Mandarin Business Aviation unit. That certificate is said to be the only private aviation AOC in China; all others are held by airlines.
The Shenyang-based company owns and charters eight aircraft, primarily Bombardier Challengers, and manages others for private owners, including Zhao Benshan, a well-known entertainer in China. TAG, meanwhile, manages some 20 aircraft through its Hong Kong operation.
Robert Wells, CEO of TAG Aviation Holding, said formation of the joint venture is well timed to capitalize on the wave of new business jets expected to quickly expand the fleet in the PRC. “Everyone is expecting rapid growth in China over the next few years,” he said, adding he hoped the new operation would be managing 20-30 aircraft within two years.
Since CFMG already holds an AOC and is managing, chartering and maintaining aircraft on its own, we asked Wells what the Chinese gained from the partnership.
“Instant credibility,” was his response. “Everyone going into China knows who we are, but they probably don’t know who they are.”