How High Do You Fly?

Private jets under management at Hong Kong's MetroJet has increased six-fold in the past five years, thanks to a boost in sales from mainland China.

Hong Kong, China (CNN)– Two years ago Candy Chung barely knew that airplanes had two wings, engines and took her on frequent trips from Asia to Europe. Now, she runs a boutique operation that helps new Asian millionaires get their own jet.

Her income per airplane may total US$300,000 to US$1 million. “Sometimes you make more, sometimes you make less,” she said.

With the explosion of fortunes in China comes a lift in private aircraft sales. In a country that’s second to the U.S. in the number of millionaires — with 1,363 people worth US$150 million and 189 billionaires, according to the Hurun List — there are ample opportunities to find clients, Chung said.

In developed markets, customers go for pre-owned models but not in this part of the world. “In China everyone wants a brand new airplane,” Chung said. For companies that manage private jets, business from rich mainlanders is thriving.

“Five years ago in Hong Kong there were less than ten business jets; today you have 40,” said Björn Näf, CEO of Metrojet in Hong Kong. “Four years ago, Metrojet had four aircraft [under management]; today we have 26.”

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