Indonesia will become the largest business jet market by 2019 overtaking neighboring Singapore, due to Indonesia's robust economic growth, vibrant business climate and relaxed aviation regulations, the president of Dassault Falcon Asia Pacific said in Jakarta on Thursday (01/09).

Today, there are 52 business jets registered in Indonesia or owned by Indonesians, up 16 percent from a year ago, according to data compiled by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. This is in comparison to 64 jets registered in Singapore, where growth remained stagnant in the same period.

"If this trend continues, Indonesia will be the leading market in the next two or three years," said Jean-Michel Jacob, the president of Dassault Falcon Asia Pacific, Dassault Aviation's subsidiary in the region.

The demand for business jets, Jacob believes, is present because Indonesia's businesses are the fastest growing in the world. There has also been an increased demand for businesses to seek investment or trade partners both locally and internationally.

Some of the country's largest business groups such as Sinar Mas and Bakrie, for example, have expressed interest in palm oil business in Africa to complement their domestic operations in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Others, like state-owned energy company Pertamina, have been busy acquiring oil fields in Algeria and Russia.

"Using business jets gives the company's executives more flexibility and allows them to make more efficient use of their  time," Jacob said.

Still, Jacob admitted that Dassault "is not famous" in Indonesia with only one business jet in the country bearing Dassault's delta and four-leaf clover insignia, far behind competitors like Gulfstream, Embraer and Bombardier.

"We are making efforts to fix that," Jacob said, who orchestrates Dassault Falcon's marketing efforts in Southeast Asia from its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

To spearhead the company's efforts in the Indonesian market is Falcon 8X, a long-range business jet that will become operational in the coming weeks.

The jet's three-engine configuration and design elements akin to Dassault's famous fighter jets provides an added layer of safety. This allows the jet to take off from even the most challenging airports, with a full tank and fly directly to most destinations in Europe and Asia Pacific. In comparison, competitors with a twin-jet configuration would be required to make an additional stop to refuel as a safety precaution.

Additionally, the government's plans to allow foreign registered private jets to fly within the country will help increase the demand for business jets, Clément Brozi, the international promotion and marketing manager of Dassault Falcon Asia Pacific, said.

Business jet owners often register their jets in countries that are easier to secure financing for buying the jet in the first place, or getting the pilot and certification for the aircraft.

"It's good that the government sees that this is common practice in owning business jets around the world," Brozi said.

In the long run, as the industry grows, more business jets will then need to be serviced in Indonesia. It then follows that supporting industries such as jet management, maintenance and catering would flourish, Brozi said.

The Jakarta Globe

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