[Viewpoint] Market for private jets promising

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[Viewpoint] Market for private jets promising

It takes 26 hours by plane and a layover in London to get to Cape Town, on the other side of the world.

That’s the shortest travel time possible to the Republic of South Africa from Incheon International Airport.

However, there is a faster way for global businessmen.

It takes only 18 hours if they depart from Gimpo Airport on a private jet and pass through Mumbai, India.

That’s an eight-hour reduction in flying time - an extremely valuable savings in the business world.

Needless to say, the insides of these jets resemble convenient private offices.

The standby times during departure and arrival are significantly lower when using a private airport terminal, and it takes less time to transfer at the middle stop, too. This is why it’s possible to create economic value that is greater than the huge cost of using a private jet.

The international market for business flights is growing.

Jets have become a new form of transportation in recent years, evolving into a pleasant, efficient way to travel for small groups.

The phenomenon surfaced as a new class established itself in the global age.

Business jets in the United States focused on international travel are creating an economic effect to the tune of more than $15 billion per year.

This segment of the market operates around 450 flights in the Asian region alone - excluding Middle Eastern countries - and is predicted to expand to three times its current size in 10 years.

About 14,000 business jets around the world are already flying the international skies, ferrying millionaires and business executives around the world.

The number of business jets increases exponentially every three days in India, and companies and wealthy individuals in China are expected to buy 600 of these types of planes by 2015.

Russia is encouraging market expansion by reducing import taxes and another type of tax by 20 percent each. The industry predicts that a new market of around 24,000 jets will be established by 2018.

The market for business jets in Korea is puny, but demand is expected to increase by leaps and bounds in the future. Many foreign executives use private jets to fly into Seoul as well.

Geographically, Korea has very advantageous conditions as a middle stop that connects the Americas with economic powers such as China and countries in the Middle East.

An airport reserved specifically for small and midsize planes is still a new concept to us.

This is because Gimpo and Incheon airports are in charge of all flight traffic focusing on the metropolitan area. However, large cities around the world operate at least three or four airports with different functions that meet the different demands of various users.

There are six airports in London for international and domestic flights, private and rented flights and low-cost flights. New York City is served by seven airports.

The number of business jets flying into Seoul has increased recently, with the daily number of arrivals and departures at 500 already.

And more of these jets fly into Gimpo Airport, which has easier accessibility to the center of Seoul.

Fortunately, there is another airport that is attractive in the metropolitan area: Seoul Airport in Seongnam, which is currently used only as a military airport, except when used for national guests.

Its base conditions make it possible to be partially opened as an airport for small private planes, air taxi services and even midsize planes.

It is just 24 kilometers (14.9 miles) from the center of Seoul and is also close to the Gangnam area, Seongnam, Anyang and Suwon, providing the best conditions for global entrepreneurs in terms of accessibility.

Seoul Airport would have no problems becoming the hub of smaller flights into and out of the country. A business airport that international entrepreneurs can easily stop at to refuel while going to and from continents would help make Seoul and Korea in general become more competitive internationally.

*The writer is dean of the Korea Aerospace University College of Aviation and Management.Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.

by Hurr Hee-young
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