ABACE Convention News

Business Aviation Taps Asia’s Bounty

 - March 3, 2012, 3:12 AM
Singapore Airshow 2012 - Photo: David McIntosh

Hawker Beechcraft found itself on the receiving end of the Lion Air spending spree when the Indonesian airline ordered a pair of Hawker 900XPs, with options for two more. The operator says it intends to use the jets, which are scheduled for delivery in the second and third quarters of this year, to meet growing demand for executive charter services throughout Asia. Indonesia, in particular, is a rising regional hotspot thanks to the growth in personal wealth in the country.

Singapore was the first stop for film star Jackie Chan’s new Embraer Legacy 650 after it was delivered to him in Brazil on February 3. However, Embraer’s new brand ambassador was not present himself to unveil an aircraft featuring his own exterior paint designs showing vibrant red and yellow depictions of a dragon and his son’s initials.

Embraer announced at the Singapore Airshow that it has made substantial interior improvements to the Legacy 600/650 series, which will be available for aircraft produced this year. “Key to this is our effort to reduce cabin sound levels, which set a new benchmark for the Legacy 600 and 650 class of aircraft,” said Embraer Executive Jets president Ernie Edwards.

The new cabin features Honeywell’s Ovation Select cabin management system (CMS), with full high-definition video, iPod and iPhone docking systems, plus a Blu-ray player and 3-D moving map. There is also an 8.9-inch touchscreen CMS passenger control monitor in the galleys for master control of video, audio, lighting, temperature and individual touch-screen controls throughout the cabin.

The Brazilian manufacturer has improved storage and added a new wireless handset Iridium phone system. Pilots will also notice improvements; the cockpit now offers improved avionics with Honeywell’s Primus Elite system.

The big news from Gulfstream was its plan to establish a business jet service center in China. Gulfstream Beijing will be a joint venture with Beijing Capital Airlines (Deer Jet) and Grand China Aviation Technik at Beijing Capital International Airport. The new center is now applying for a Part 145 repair certification from the Civil Administration of China and Gulfstream president Larry Flynn said he expects to achieve this in third quarter of this year.

The new facility will consist of an 82,000-sq-ft hangar and 22,000 sq ft of offices and workshops. Gulfstream product support executive Kay Ardalan, the site’s general manager, will oversee it. Both Gulfstream and Deer Jet employees will staff the facility.

In Singapore, Gulfstream demonstrated a G450 equipped with its new Elite interior. The cabin features elements developed for the new G650 and now available for the G550 also.

Piaggio Aero Industries announced the appointment of CAEA Aviation as its exclusive agent for the Avanti II in China. The Beijing-based company has ordered two of the twin turboprops, which achieved Chinese certification last October, and these will be delivered in July.

The show also saw further expansion of business aviation support infrastructure at Singapore’s main GA gateway, Seletar Airport. Hawker Pacific opened a new FBO that will combine aircraft, handling, support, maintenance and sales functions. Dallas Airmotive opened its new regional turbine center there to provide authorized support for Honeywell auxiliary power units and TFE731, CFE738 and HTF7000 engines. Also new at Seletar is the MAJ Aviation FBO.

Finally, Bombardier announced plans to establish a new service center at Seletar next year. The new facility will offer light maintenance for all Learjets, Challengers and Globals, and will be the OEM’s customer services hub for the Asia Pacific region.