The largest barriers to growth of business aviation in the Asia Pacific region are “infrastructure, infrastructure and infrastructure,” General Aviation Manufacturers Association (Gama) president and CEO Pete Bunce told AIN here at the ABACE show. “There really is no business aviation infrastructure yet in the region. With infrastructure, there would be even more growth opportunities for the industry here in China and, more generally, in the Asia Pacific,” he commented.
“It’s more than just building runways–it’s also about knowing how business aviation works at the airport and tailoring regulations for this unique segment,” Bunce said. “Regulations for airline operations don’t really work for business aviation.”
Bunce’s list of needed infrastructure improvements include reliever airports for general-aviation traffic, ATC efficiency efforts and the building of more FBOs, as well as developing customs and airport security tailored specifically to business aviation. “Gama’s members–which include OEMs, FBOs and MROs–can all provide elements to help build this infrastructure,” he stressed.
On the regulatory-reform front, Gama is providing an industry perspective to authorities as countries on the Pacific Rim develop a common framework to facilitate business aviation operations, under the auspices of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum. The 21 Pacific Rim countries involved in Apec are seeking to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the region. So far, Apec has held two meetings–one in the fall and another last month–to work toward harmonized regulations for business aviation. It will hold a third conference to further address this topic in August.
Gama is also forging cooperative relationships with regulatory authorities, policymakers and stakeholders in China and India to align certification and regulatory policy with an environment that promotes the “safe and rapid growth” of general and business aviation, according to Bunce. Indonesia is also on his radar for such a cooperative partnership, since business aviation is a great way to connect this country of many islands.
Bunce also said regional events such as ABACE help to put the spotlight on the need for regulatory reform and infrastructure development. “Everyone is excited about what is happening here in Shanghai this week,” he said. “This is what it was like when EBACE [the European version of the ABACE show] started.”