Fast-track transfer service for private fliers in Hong Kong enjoys smooth take-off, as operator eyes growing market

Fast-track transfer service for private fliers in Hong Kong enjoys smooth take-off, as operator eyes growing market

A new “wing-to-wing transfer service” offering seamless connectivity between commercial planes and business jets in Hong Kong is off to a flying start, its operator has said, as it ramps up efforts to capitalise on rising demand for private flights.

The Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC), the city’s only franchised fixed-base operator for business aircraft support services, rolled out the initiative last month.

The service means passengers transferring between commercial flights and private jets can skip Hong Kong’s immigration procedures or forego taking their luggage to a counter upon arrival.

Fliers are instead accompanied by HKBAC staff members to the centre, located at the airport, and can directly board their jet, while their belongings are taken care of.

The service can shorten the transfer time for passengers heading between commercial flights and business jets, going from the 1½ hours needed for the traditional route to between 30 and 50 minutes.

(From left) Deputy general manager Sheree Cheung and chairman Allen Fung of the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre, stand alongside Amber Aviation vice-president Vicky Tsui. Photo: Elson Li

HKBAC chairman Allen Fung Yuk-lun told the Post this week that he hoped the JetLink Service could entice more premium clients into trying out business jets or charter flights that catered to more than 10 people per aircraft, depending on its size.

A shift in customer behaviour meant a diverse range of patrons now preferred to pay more to take charter flights to reach their destinations, with such options costing about two to four times more than a first-class commercial flight ticket, he said.

Fung noted that Singapore, Japan and mainland China were among the popular destinations chosen by such customers.

“After the Covid-19 pandemic, people have become more health conscious so a greater number of them now prefer to take chartered flights or private jets which are quieter, convenient and more comfortable with enhanced privacy,” he said.

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“Business jets have started to appeal to different groups of patrons from business bosses or executives taking the journey to attend international conferences or other events, such as sports or arts, to families and individuals seeking a tailor-made premium service that is unavailable with commercial flights.

“There has also been a rising trend of customers bringing their pets along for leisure travel or tour groups going to some special destinations for activities such as diving via a charter flight. When they can organise more than 10 people to share the cost, it becomes not so expensive.”

Fung said the service aimed to provide private jet customers with greater convenience, efficiency and comfort.

“This fast-track service can eliminate the need for individual travellers to handle the complicated and time-consuming process of customs and immigration clearance, as well as baggage claim,” he said.

“The response has been good so far. Those who tried out the service were happy about the carefree experience, which was really time-saving and convenient.”

The HKBAC chairman was upbeat that the new service could enhance the industry’s competitiveness and help cement Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub, noting the city boasted strong global connectivity, while such an option was currently unavailable in Singapore.

The centre has signed up more than 100 jet operators at Hong Kong International Airport, with companies’ services covering 200 destinations.

More than 7,000 private jet trips were made in the city last year, representing 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Hong Kong business jet operators are promoting the fast-track transfer service to Western customers, they say. Photo: Elson Li

Business jet operator Amber Aviation vice-president Vicky Tsui said the JetLink Service had been well-received by her European and American clients taking commercial flights to Hong Kong before switching to private jets to the mainland and other parts of Asia.

“My customers have been very happy with this new service because it saves them a lot of time for making transit,” she said. “We will also actively promote this service to our Western customers to turn Hong Kong into a vital transit point in the Asia-Pacific.”

Sheree Cheung, deputy general manager at HKBAC, said the centre was also on track with its HK$400 million (US$51 million) expansion plan to double capacity to 17,000 private jet trips per year, which would support rising demand and complement the launch of the airport’s third runway this year.

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The expansion plan will launch next year and is divided into two parts. The first involves extending the centre’s executive terminal building and also adding a new all-weather canopy.

The second part covers the creation of a new support terminal with larger facilities to cope with growing demand from chartered flights and group travel flights, as well as the establishment of extra offices for business aviation stakeholders.

Hong Kong airport’s third runway will open by the end of this year. It is expected to boost the city’s annual capacity by 50 per cent to 120 million passengers and 10 million tonnes of cargo.



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