The Asian business aviation sector is on the brink of hatching into an extremely lucrative market. According to companies active in the region, long-anticipated growth is finally beginning to materialize.
In response, the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) is stepping up its game to provide the leadership needed for the daunting task of pushing the sector forward in the region. With membership hovering around 40, AsBAA intends to up its numbers within the next 12 months.
AsBAA chairman Chuck Woods, vice chairman Jason Liao and treasurer Simon Wagstaff see the Hong Kong-based group as beginning to gain some traction. “AsBAA is ready to hire a full-time employee,” Liao told AIN. “At the moment it is volunteer-led. We have resolved our funding issues and are in the process of hiring somebody to oversee the day-to-day operations.”
Liao expects the successful candidate will be located in China, where operators need the most help with resolving political issues. He added that AsBAA would also create new committee positions at its annual general meeting next March.
Meanwhile, Wagstaff has implemented a new three-tier membership system, making it easier for companies to join. Small firms can join for HK$500 (US$65); HK$7,500 (US$970) buys an executive board place, and corporate members pay HK$1,500 (US$195).
Aircraft broker Jay Mesinger sits on the board of NBAA and is the chairman of its Associate Member Advisory Panel, which deals with industry groups in other parts of the world. He said, “Ideally, AsBAA will become something like the European Business Aviation Association, with the critical mass and wide member base to create significant revenues.” Pointing to the NBAA’s mandate to lobby Congress, he argued that although AsBAA has great motivation, it does not yet have enough members to be really effective. He believes it would be useful to bring on board corporations that have their own managed corporate flight departments, such as Korean blue-chip companies and subsidiaries of domestic airlines.
One issue that is causing some difficulty is the proliferation of trade shows looking to capitalize on the growing stature of bizav in Asia. NBAA and AsBAA announced last month that they will reintroduce the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (Abace) in 2012. The next event will take place from February 28 to March 1, 2012, in Shanghai, China, at the Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Center on Hongqiao Airport.
Reed Exhibitions will kick things off next year with the second edition of Asian Aerospace, due to take place in Hong Kong March 8 to 10. This will include an event called Asian Business Aviation, and AsBAA has pledged its support and will use it as the venue for its annual general meeting. Two other bizav gatherings are scheduled for next year: the Hainan Rendezvous (April 1-4), which is a mixture of aviation and luxury goods; and the Sibas show in Shanghai (April 13-15).