Beijing BAC (business aviation center) didn’t have much time to get up and running before it began handling aircraft arriving for the Olympics. The facility opened on Capital International Airport (PEK) August 4 and began handling aircraft the next day in support of the Summer Olympics, which officially started three days later. “We handled 470 business jets during the Olympics,” David Paddock, senior vice president for group business development at Jet Aviation, told AIN. “We also controlled overnight parking for 87 aircraft on the two ramps assigned to us.”
The joint venture among Jet Aviation, Beijing-based Deer Air and Reach Investment was announced in April and the FBO facility was completed in less than six months.
During the development process, the government entered into talks with Jet Aviation about coordinating and staffing all the business aircraft ground operations during the Olympics.
“We looked at the airport’s plans for the Olympics and saw that the way they were planning to park overnight aircraft would accommodate only about 70 to 80,” Paddock said. “We suggested an alternative parking configuration that increased capacity to 160. They decided to draw upon Jet Aviation’s experience and we contracted with Capital Jet, a subsidiary of Capital Airport Holdings [the owner/operator of Beijing Capital International Airport] to support business aircraft during the Olympics.”
Paddock said it was part of the agreement that the handling would be a joint operation with Capital Jet FBO, which had opened its facility’s doors a week earlier. Under the terms of the agreement, business aircraft passengers were routed through Capital Jet FBO and crews went through either Capital or BAC depending upon which was the fastest route. Both facilities had CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) and security. BAC also handled a number of high-ranking Chinese government officials.
“Capital Jet had its personnel and we had nine of our local personnel in our operation, but to make it work we had to operate two shifts. To do that we drew upon the expertise of our FBOs worldwide and put together a team of 33 people who were on-site beginning July 28,” Paddock said. “We staffed our own facility, and three of our people were at Capital Jet doing customer service work and running a general command center. Thirteen of our people handled two ramps for overnight parking; three were maintenance engineers and three were off-site handling logistics.”
Paddock said Jet Aviation was paid for the contract but fuel sales were the exclusive domain of the airport. “Beijing BAC charged handling and services fees typical for our European operations and included a special-event charge to reflect the significant buildup for the Olympics.” He declined to be specific about the charges.
Beijing BAC is now an operating, full-service FBO with 10 full-time employees. The plan calls for the gradual addition of staff to a high of 61 by 2012. The 35,475-sq-ft, three-story FBO offers 24/7 handling services, AOG service and line maintenance.
The futuristically designed executive terminal includes exclusive conference rooms, executive and crew lounges, refreshment areas, weather briefing and flight planning accommodations, meeting rooms and client offices. The facility has 24-hour border police and CIQ, security checks, baggage screening and metal detection capability.
Paddock added, “We are also in the process of designing a hangar that should be in place by next summer. It will be the only business aviation hangar in Beijing accommodating both tenant and overnight aircraft.”