Indonesia Is Key Emerging Market in Asia, Manufacturers Say

 - April 10, 2014, 1:45 PM
The Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop is well suited to operating in Indonesia, where runways are often short and frequently have gravel or grass surfaces.

Business aircraft manufacturers are seeing Indonesia as the emerging country for business aviation in Asia. They believe that sales, albeit still relatively slow, are poised to grow, mainly due to favorable economic and geographic conditions.

“We do see Indonesia as a growing market for business aviation,” Roger Sperry, Gulfstream’s senior v-p international sales, Asia Pacific, told AIN. In 2012, the country’s economy grew at its fastest pace in more than a decade, he said, which makes it fertile ground for business aviation. That said, the concept of business aviation is still relatively new in Southeast Asia, Sperry noted.

Seven Gulfstreams, approximately evenly divided between mid-cabin and large-cabin aircraft, are based in Indonesia; customers include corporations, wealthy individuals and charter operators.

“We are looking at Southeast Asia–in particular, countries like Indonesia–as emerging growth countries for business aviation,” John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet, said in February. The company anticipates the delivery of the first Falcon in Indonesia this year.

Textron Aviation (the new entity encompassing Cessna and Beechcraft) also sees Indonesia as a growth market. “In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is one of the strongest markets for us,” said Bill Harris, v-p sales for Asia Pacific. Mining sites and palm oil plantations are far from major airports, and companies need to get their engineers and executives there in reasonable time. For example, Harris described one trip that takes two hours by air–or three days otherwise–using a boat and then a Land Rover. Cessna Citations are very well suited to this environment, as they are known for short runway performance, he emphasized. Around 10 Citations fly in Indonesia, and a lot of King Airs are already flying there as well, Harris added.

Pilatus has two PC-12s flying in the country. One of the operators is charity organization Yajasi, sales director Fred Muggli told AIN. The single turboprop is well suited to the country because short airfields, sometimes with runway surfaces of gravel or grass, are commonplace, said Muggli.

Another turboprop aircraft that has found favour in Indonesia is Piaggio Aero’s P180 Avanti II twin pusherprop. Executive charter operator Susi Air has been operating several of the type successfully for a number of years.

Airbus has an undisclosed number of ACJs in Indonesia. “Like the rest of Asia Pacific, it is experiencing good economic growth of more than five percent a year, and this drives business aviation,” an ACJ marketing executive said. He also noted that Indonesia has a large population of more than 250 million people, with a territory that comprises around 10,000 islands encompassing an area some 2,000 miles across.

Boeing agrees that economic growth in the country is steady and that the number of business jets in the country is increasing. “Indonesia is well represented by high-net-worth individuals now, and will continue to grow,” a spokeswoman said, expressing confidence that this will translate into more BBJ orders. In fact, a BBJ2, currently at a completion center, is expected to enter into service with the government of Indonesia this year.

A Bombardier spokesperson made it clear that her company sees Indonesia as the number-one emerging market in Asia Pacific. “Economic growth is key to the increase in demand for business aviation,” she said. There currently are eight Bombardier aircraft registered in the country–five Learjets and three Globals.

Meanwhile, Embraer singles out Indonesia as a country where its executive jets are particularly popular, with a claimed 40-percent market share. The Brazil-based airframer has a combined 20 executive jets flying in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.