Malaysia is 2nd-biggest market for VistaJet in Asia

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

Malaysia is the second-biggest market for VistaJet International Ltd in Asia, after China, said its global chief commercial officer Ian Moore (picture).

According to Moore, 22% of VistaJet’s Asia customers are from Malaysia, despite beginning its operation here in 2008.

The Malta-based business aviation company is confident with their current asset-free business model to truly match their customers flying needs.

“We are projecting our VistaJet programme to grow to 70% contribution to revenue within the next couple of years,” he said in a media briefing in Shah Alam yesterday.

The company has registered 45% increase in passenger traffic year-on-year for international departures from Malaysia in the first three quarters ended Sept 30, 2017, while international arrivals rose 18%, in and out of its local base at Subang Airport.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Phuket are among the top destinations to and from Malaysia.

The company said it has witnessed 40% of its new business in Asia came from customers moving away from aircraft ownership. To put this into perspective, Moore said one private-jet owner has to bear some US$40,000 (RM169,000) for an hour of flying.

“We want people to stop purchasing their own aircraft. Unless you really want it, why would you want to buy a new aircraft with such cost if you are only travelling less than 200 hours per year? It is a different case for those who fly 800 to 900 hours a year after taking into account their aircraft’s depreciation against its flying hours,” he said.

An Uber-like programme for private jets, the only difference is VistaJet owns its fleet and is currently contributing about 55% to the company’s top line, followed by its on-demand or charter segment with 45%.

According to Moore, the flying hour basis signature programme would cost at least US$1.2 million for 100-200 flying hours, depending on the bespoke service.

He further said the economic value of owning a private jet has increasingly faded away, especially for those who are just flying less than 200 hours a year.

Moore also has singled out the illiquid nature of private jet sale and purchase market as one of the reason behind the impracticality to own a private aircraft.

“We have many of our customers consulted with us on how to get rid or divest their own aircraft, but it is not easy to sell back the aircraft. A lot of them have stayed on the market over 400 days,” he told The Malaysian Reserve on the sidelines of the briefing.

The age range of VistaJet’s customers is from 25 to 92 years old with 52 being the average age. For Malaysia, the customers could come from as young as 30-year-old individuals.

The majority of its client base are corporates, followed by ultra-high-net worth individuals and governments.

The business aviation market currently has 19,200 business jets worldwide with two million flight hours in category. The industry is expected to grow 6% per annum, with rising demands from the millennials.

Founded in 2004, the US$2.5 billion company has grown from two aircraft in its fleet to 72 today. The company now has 10-15 aircraft serving Asia — including the Challenger 350, Challenger 850 and Global 6000 — connecting passengers to over 1,600 airports in 187 countries, or 96% of the world.