NetJets gets China's OK for new private jet firm

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — NetJets said Tuesday that its new joint venture will soon begin offering private charter flights in China now that regulators there have granted the company an operating certificate.

NetJets, which sells partial ownership interests in business jets in the United States and Europe, has been working since 2012 to gain approval to set up operations in China.

NetJets CEO Jordan Hansell said he believes there is strong growth potential in China for private jet flights although the venture will likely start off small.

"We have been talking with potential customers over the last several years and have found great interest in the services we plan to offer," Hansell said.

The new China venture includes a group of Chinese investors led by Hony Jinsi Investment Management (Beijing) Ltd. and Fung Investments.

NetJets, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, is owned by Warren Buffett's Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

NetJets' profits have been improving as demand for private flights grows along with the economy. Berkshire said NetJets' earnings in 2013 increased 7 percent as sales improved and financing costs declined.

NetJets has a global fleet of more than 700 aircraft and roughly 6,000 employees, but it remains a relatively small part of Berkshire Hathaway, which has more than 330,000 employees and over 80 different subsidiaries.

Berkshire eclectic mix of companies includes Geico, General Re, BNSF railroad, Dairy Queen and others. Berkshire also holds big investments in companies like the Washington Post Co., Wells Fargo & Co., International Business Machines Corp. and American Express Co.



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