Deer Jet has begun offering China’s first fractional ownership service, partly responding to requests from business aircraft users who have found they were getting little use out of their aircraft.

In its first stage, the company is offering shared ownership of Gulfstream G450s, G550s and Dassault 7Xs, beginning with one of each type, says Wu Wending, deputy general manager of Deer Jet’s aircraft asset management department. For the second stage, the offerings will be Bombardier Global 6000s and 5000s, Challenger 605s and Gulfstream G280s.

Fractional ownership is still largely an unknown entity to the Chinese customer base. Fractional ownership pioneer NetJets is establishing operations in China, but is first focusing on charter and management.

While most customers want to own a complete aircraft, some have found that they are not getting much use from their current airplanes – maybe only about 200 flight hours a year – and would therefore be interested in having a share of an aircraft instead. Under current Chinese regulations, owners cannot get full value out of an underused aircraft by chartering it to others. But fractional ownership is possible because China incorporated it when adopting FAA general aviation regulations.

Deer Jet’s customers will have ownership of a certain aircraft, not rights to so many hours in any available aircraft of the chosen type. If two customers want to use their jointly owned aircraft at the same time, Deer Jet will offer a better aircraft to one of them.

Manufacturers are highly supportive of the new service, Wu says. To them, fractional ownership is a way of introducing the use of business aircraft to people who might later choose to fully buy one.

Deer Jet announced its fractional ownership service at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai.