New Asian bizav group takes off

 - May 15, 2008, 10:21 AM

With the goal of promoting a better understanding of the needs and benefits of business aviation in the Asia/Pacific region, the newly formed Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) will prepare a professional brief to present to the civil aviation authorities throughout the region this year.

“After we do our CAA road show,” Mark Turner, AsBAA chairman, told AIN, “we will take a look at the issues important to business aviation. The general objective is to obtain an acceptance of business aviation by the authorities, but there are also regional and local issues we need to work on, such as access to airports, unreasonably high fees and unrealistic insurance requirements. In many countries in the area, there is simply no understanding of what business aviation does and what it can do for the region.”

Attending an AsBAA board meeting at Asian Aerospace 2002 in Singapore in late February were 14 board members and 13 others interested in supporting business aviation in the Asia/Pacific region. Voted onto the board was Japan Business Aviation Association president Toshi Iwata. Robert Blouin, NBAA senior v-p of operations, represents the U.S. association on the AsBAA board. (The small “s” was recently added to the Asian association’s acronym to avoid confusion with the Australian Business Aviation Association’s acronym.)

“The biggest challenge of business aviation in the region is education,” NBAA president Jack Olcott told AIN in Singapore, pledging NBAA’s support to help do just that. “The AsBAA needs to establish a basic program of advocacy and become a forum of knowledgeable people,” he said. “Employers in Asia need to learn what business aviation can do for their companies and that it can help their region and their countries economically. Transportation has always been a key to economic development and business aviation is just another form of transportation.”

Donald Spruston, director general of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), welcomed the formation of the AsBAA and its membership on the council. “As a council of associations, IBAC was created to try to leverage the needs of business aviation on an international level.” Since the return of IBAC’s office to the Montreal, Quebec-headquarters building of ICAO a few years ago, the council has been able to place representatives on virtually every ICAO panel, working group and forum that deals with issues of importance to business aviation, he said. The council also makes sure that business aviation is represented at all important meetings of ICAO around the world. “In the past, business aviation was disadvantaged for not being at the meetings it should have attended. Now we have the leverage to make a difference,” Spruston said.

Turner said he expects the AsBAA, formed about 18 months ago, will be incorporated in Hong Kong this month. Membership in the new association costs $500 a year. AsBAA does not yet have a Web site, but Turner can be reached at tnt@netvigator.com.