Regional aircraft lessor Falko has established a new leasing business in China in an effort to capture lease deals in that market.

There are very few regional aircraft operating in China but Falko’s senior vice president of portfolio development, Will van Zeventer, says the country’s ‘Rule 96’ should drive demand.

The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) has disclosed that under ‘Rule 96’, new operator certificates will only be issued to airlines planning to operate regional aircraft with 100 seats or fewer.

Under the rules, new passenger airlines must operate 25 regional aircraft and achieve a certain number of flight hours each month before they can add larger aircraft. For cargo operators, the number of regional aircraft required is 20.

Falko says its new aircraft leasing business in Tianjin’s Dongjiang Free Trade Port (DFTP) is its first foreign regional aircraft business in the DFTP.

Its fleet comprises mostly ATR, Bombardier, Embraer and BAE aircraft.

Van Zeventer tells Smart Aviation APAC that the process of establishing the leasing business was straightforward and well-supported by the DFTP authorities.

He says Falko has received leasing enquires from China but has yet to convert any of them into orders.