ExecuJet Haite Expands Presence in China with New MRO Center at Daxing International

China’s business jet market may have shrunk, but ExecuJet Haite’s general manager, Paul Desgrosseilliers, foresees a gradual rebound, buoyed by an uptick in overseas visitors at the company’s Tianjin facility.

Now, with a second maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) center at Beijing’s mega-hub, Daxing International, Desgrosseilliers is optimistic about the increased potential for growth and opportunities.

“We’ve always served the Beijing market the best we could through Tianjin. At Beijing Capital, the available facilities, parking, and access are quite limited. Providing maintenance support to the fleet has always been challenging due to these constraints,” Desgrosseilliers told AIN. “We don’t have those restrictions at Daxing.”

Slated to open in the second quarter, discussions for the new MRO took place with Capital Airport Holding Business Aviation Management (CBM) over the pandemic. Last month, the two sides finalized the agreement with the aim to establish Daxing as a world-class business aviation hub.

ExecuJet Haite will operate a 5,000-sq-m (54,000-sq-ft) MRO hangar—nearly double the size of its 2,700-sq-m Tianjin hangar. The new facility will increase the capacity of services, including line and base maintenance and AOG services for a range of business jets such as Gulfstream, Dassault Falcon, Embraer, Bombardier, and Boeing.

Certified to provide maintenance by the CAAC, EASA, the FAA, and aviation authorities in Caribbean nations, ExecuJet Haite is an authorized service center for multiple aircraft and engine OEMs, including Gulfstream, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer Executive Jets, and Rolls-Royce for engines, as well as Honeywell for auxiliary power units.

State-owned CBM will continue to oversee the entire operations of the FBO—an 11,000-sq-m terminal building located in the airport’s 300,000-sq-m business aviation area. Spread across two floors, area A includes ramp access, aircraft ground services, four passenger lounges, two crew lounges, and six business meeting rooms, plus international and domestic channels. Area B offers similar aircraft access, services, and channels, as well as six passenger lounges, crew lounges, three meeting rooms, a multi-function hall, office rentals, and a restaurant.

“With what CBM was constructing at Daxing, it really presented an opportunity to have access to world-class infrastructure and the capital city itself,” he said. “It is a beautiful facility with a maintenance ramp and an engine run on the premises. The FBO has 85 parking slots and convenient aircraft access. We see this as a long-term base for business jets.”

Desgrosseilliers views the time-saving features at Daxing International—streamlined security, easy ramp access, and state-of-the-art facilities—as key selling points for customers. With many businesses shuttered because of Covid, the MRO is strategically positioned to expand market share—a success story already unfolding in Tianjin.

“A lot of what we’re seeing is Covid-driven. During the pandemic, Americans were coming in hand over fist, and the prices were just too good. We saw a spike in aircraft sales to North America, with planes consistently selling at or above market rate. A lot of aircraft were sold out of China. Competitors have quieted down significantly.”

Having successfully weathered the pandemic when others did not, ExecuJet Haite is now enjoying growth. However, the prospect of China experiencing a resurgence in business jets, reminiscent of the boom days witnessed by Desgrosseilliers in 2011, remains to be seen. Unofficial estimates indicate that the number of China-registered business jets falls within the range of 200 to 250, a notable contrast to the nearly 15,000 registered jets in the U.S., according to a second-half 2022 analysis by Airbus Corporate Jets.

Nevertheless, the Boston-born executive has seen MRO activities pick up since the summer and is banking on additional Gulfstream work. The company is also looking to grow its joint venture with Hong Kong-based MRO Metrojet. Based in Shenzhen, the JV, Funian Aviation, provides charter services utilizing a pair of Gulfstream jets, the G450 and G550, and holds CAAC Part 135 charter certificate, CAAC Part 145 maintenance organization approval, and IS-BAO Stage II registration.

“It’s been four years since we’ve had foreigners inside our facility; now they are coming back. Being onsite, meeting face-to-face, and seeing my team and the services we provide firsthand. There’s just such a benefit to that. You can’t achieve the same connection through phone calls and Zoom. It feels good to have people back in China.”