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A case study in time and trust

Philip Rushton- President of the aircraft acquisition and consulting firm Aviatrade Inc- relates the need to invest time and understanding in developing a successful consultancy to those entrepreneurs and companies considering Business Aviation in China.

Following a decade flying the Jaguar close air support fighter jet for the Royal Air Force- Philip Rushton ventured into Business Aviation- first as an aviator- then as the owner/operator of a small multi-Gulfstream/helicopter management company in the USA- and subsequently as an advisor to companies seeking to own and operate business aircraft.

Since establishing Aviatrade Asia as an adjunct to Aviatrade- Inc. approximately six years ago- his focus has been on China- building a staff mostly of Chinese nationals situated in Hong Kong and Shenzhen- with satellite offices in New York and Los Angeles.

When meeting with BizJet Advisor-China Editorial Director Jack Olcott in early March- Rushton characterized Business Aviation in China as reminiscent of the early years of business aircraft in the USA. He noted that an interest in business aircraft exists- but little is known about the true strengths and challenges of this form of transportation. Truly understanding the needs of Chinese companies and high-net-worth individuals takes considerable time.

“We launched Aviatrade Asia in the 2004-2005 timeframe around a small but highly qualified staff of multilingual Chinese nationals-” said Rushton. “Progress was slow- as we developed relationships with entrepreneurs and business leaders with the authority to purchase a business aircraft. It took a long time—in the order of two to three years in some cases—to complete a transaction.

“Trust is an absolute requirement-” he continued. “So is patience. We had to be willing to listen to the needs of those we met- and appreciate the culture of business relationships in China.

“Our first contact typically is several levels below that of the decision maker. Months of dialogue take place before we move closer to the party who will authorize a purchase- all the while demonstrating our commitment to be a sincere source of accurate and relevant knowledge. We provide insight into aircraft selection- performance- alignment between mission need and aircraft capability- and technical issues such as crew qualifications and maintenance. We address all questions except those relating to finance.

“Because we have been patient and trustworthy- we have satisfied clients- and they have told their associates of their satisfactory experiences with AviaTrade Asia-” noted Rushton with typical British reserve.

“Networking is the primary means of gaining clients- although we advertise and have a website. We have found- however- that the businessmen and High-Net-Worth individuals we want to reach are not particularly wedded to email. Their principle form of communication is the cell phone. We are pleased that they are saying good things about Aviatrade Asia.”

More information from www.aviatrade.aero

Read more about: Business Aviation in China

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