Germany’s Hahn Air and China’s Deer Jet have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to connect Deer Jet’s sizeable business aviation fleet and Hahn Air’s worldwide travel network. The endeavor has the backing of Cessna, which will deliver aircraft to Deer Jet to support the continuing expansion of its operations in the near-term.

“We are the biggest business-to-business travel distributor in the world,” says Hahn Air executive vice president Simon Riha. “We operate our own aircraft, but we have a distribution platform that is connected to all 11 of the other GDS (global distribution systems) in the world. We provide travel on 260 scheduled carriers from all the major airlines to regionals to low-cost carriers, using more than 90,000 travel agents in 190 countries. Now we are bringing more business aviation into that structure.”

“A customer can find a scheduled flight, query business jet availability to connect with that flight and book the complete trip on one single ticket. You can add hotels and car hire -– that’s normal -– but everything is done on one single integrated booking. This goes far beyond other airline business jet services because we connect with all airlines, across all alliances. It is neutral, global and open to everyone.”

The MoU with Deer Jet heralds a massive expansion of this service. Deer Jet is by far the largest business aviation operator in China and all of Asia. It is also growing at a formidable rate. By the end of 2013 its owned and managed fleet will have reached 80 aircraft.

“We made a deliberate decision to go to China and Deer Jet first,” says Riha. “The potential for that market, to bring traffic into and out of China, is huge.”

Deer Jet vice president Zhang Peng told Aviation Week that the link with Hahn Air builds on the existing successful relationship with his parent company, the HNA Group, and its airline subsidiaries, such as Hainan Airlines. “We have been expanding for the last 17 years,” said Mr Zhang. “But this venture will give us an entirely new international market share.”

The MoU was announced at the Cessna booth alongside company CEO and president Scott Ernest. Cessna is not a signatory to the Deer Jet and Hahn Air agreement, but as a company with new roots in China it has an interest in initiatives that will expand the market there. The Hahn Air/Deer Jet travel service in China will be available to customers by late 2013 or early 2014 -– in the same timeframe that Cessna is expected to deliver new aircraft to Deer Jet. These could come first from the U.S., but will ultimately be supplied from Cessna’s production line in Chengdu.