AsBAA Boosts Membership and Lobbying Role in Response to Asian Growth

 - December 1, 2011, 2:55 AM
AsBAA chairman Jean-Noel Robert (front row, fourth from left) and the rest of the association’s executive committee show off membership applications. Accompanying them are representives from new members.

Membership of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) is growing as the group’s new leadership team takes steps to expand its operations. According to AsBAA chairman Jean-Noel Robert, 10 new member companies have joined the Hong Kong-based group in recent weeks.

The new members include corporate flight departments such as Hewlett Packard, American Express, JP Morgan Chase and Pepsi, as well as service providers NetJets, Universal Weather & Aviation, J Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales, Universal Avionics and the Helicopter Association International. AsBAA’s 50-strong membership roster already includes all the leading business aircraft manufacturers as well as leading local operators such as DeerJet, AsiaJet and Hong Kong Jet.

Meanwhile, the AsBAA executive committee that took office in March 2011 is establishing operating committees to take the lead in working on local issues. The first of these is the Hong Kong operations committee. This has already been involved in negotiating changes to aircraft parking fees, which had been set at a flat rate calculated for the largest widebody airliners. The committee, chaired by Metrojet’s Scott McQuillen, is now speaking up for business aviation in discussions about plans to add a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport, which AsBAA is supporting.

Starting soon will be operations committees for mainland China, Singapore and Thailand, and others will likely follow. Robert told AIN that, high profile as the Chinese market is these days, he sees AsBAA’s sphere of influence extending to India in the west of Asia, to Russia and Japan in the north and Australia in the south. At the same time, AsBAA is redeveloping its website to include a Chinese language section.

Robert is now recruiting AsBAA members to run the planned committees in the belief that operators and companies already positioned in the various Asian countries are best placed to take the lead in lobbying there. The association also hopes to recruit a full-time executive secretary soon.

The operating environment in China is complicated not least by the fact that mainland China and the special administrative territories of Hong Kong and Macau each have their own aviation regulators. “But I am confident that the situation will change for the better in China,” said Robert.

“Our long-term vision for AsBAA is to be a leading force in the Asian region,” he told AIN. Robert is working closely with NBAA and the European Business Aviation Association to win support for the issues AsBAA is tackling and negotiating mutual benefits between the members of these groups.

Strong interest in the growth potential for business aviation in Asia has resulted in a proliferation of trade shows and industry events in the region. The difficulty for prospective exhibitors and visitors has been to ascertain which events are the most worthwhile. AsBAA is now reviewing Asian business aviation shows to establish criteria for which it will officially endorse.

The current composition of the AsBAA executive committee is as follows: vice chairmen David Dixon (formerly with Bombardier) and Embraer sales director Lee Li, with Peter Hoi (Gulfstream), Jeff Dunn (Boeing Business Jets), Walter Taylor (Jeppesen), Helena Lang (Hawker Pacific), Ekaraj Amornvivat (Orient Sky, Thailand) and Scott McQuillen (Metrojet) rounding out the executive committee. Jean-Noel Robert is sales director for Airbus Corporate Jets in north Asia.