Ed Bolen, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) president and CEO, and Li Derun, Shanghai Airport Authority president, signed a memorandum of agreement at ABACE 2014 yesterday to keep the annual Asian business aviation show at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport until at least 2021. The agreement doubles the life of the original five-year arrangement signed by the parties in June 2011 to hold the show at the Chinese airport starting with ABACE 2012.
NBAA organizes the event in partnership with the Shanghai Airport Authority, with the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) co-hosting the event. Once again, Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Centre, a joint venture between the Shanghai Airport Authority and Hawker Pacific, is the host facility.
“When we signed the agreement in 2011, we said that ABACE would put China at the center of the business aviation stage, attract the leading business aviation individuals and companies from around the world and showcase Asian companies, and it would reflect Asian characteristics, attract high-ranking government officials and quickly become one of the truly great business events in the world,” Bolen said yesterday at the media luncheon where the MoA was signed.
“Our promise has been kept, and our dream has been realized. ABACE has become one of the great aviation shows–a must-see, must-participate event,” he continued. “At the opening session, we will have high-ranking officials from the aviation administration of China, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. These respected officials will open what will be the largest and most significant ABACE yet. We have indeed come a long way since we signed the first agreement in 2011.”
Bolen noted that the ABACE show is still at the beginning of the journey. “It is not just a great event, but an enduring one,” he said, adding that there are 187 exhibitors at this year’s show, 73 of which are from Asia–more than doubling the 36 exhibitors from the region at ABACE 2012.
There are also 38 aircraft on static display, including piston airplanes for the first time. In fact, the Beechcraft Bonanza and Baron G58 here at the show are the first piston airplanes to land at Hongqiao, or at least in recent memory. This continues the expansion of operations that ABACE has facilitated–the first non-police helicopter was flown into the airport for last year’s show and the first turboprop airplane landed at the field for the 2012 event.
“These types of operations at Hongqiao for ABACE provide a model for them throughout China,” Bolen told AIN. “ABACE is much more than just a three-day show in April.”
Speaking of the three-day show that opens today, he highlighted several changes intended to make the event better for exhibitors and attendees. This includes a more efficient security setup to greatly reduce the lines of people waiting to get into the venue, better food vendor area and improved show site layout.
In the longer view, Bolen said that a planned second hangar at Hawker Pacific would provide more exhibit space at the show site whenever that structure is eventually built. In addition, there is a convention center close to Hongqiao Airport that is being planned that could be used to house ABACE exhibits at some point.