Two years ago, explained Kurt Edwards, director general of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), the idea was floated that the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which has the mission of improving economic growth in Pacific Rim countries, could also “improve the way that the economies facilitate the movement of business aviation within the region, because business aviation contributes to economic growth.”
To this end, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) representatives helped explain to delegations from APEC member countries how business aviation works to help integrate all parts of the region, and then APEC staff from various member economies helped develop the three core principles, which were adopted at a meeting in Tokyo last September.
At a meeting held yesterday at ABACE 2014, members of key business aviation associations updated attendees on the core Statement of Principles for Business Aviation recently approved by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministers.
This meeting included Edwards, Doug Carr, NBAA v-p of safety, security, operations and regulation; Ed Smith, GAMA senior v-p of international and environmental affairs; and Charlie Mularski, vice-chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) and Universal Weather & Aviation regional v-p, Asia Pacific.
“The first principle,” Edwards explained, “is that the economies of APEC should recognize that business aviation operators have the freedom to fly within the region. It’s as simple as that.”
Continuing, he said the second principle asks the economies “to process permit requests in a timely manner. I’ve heard a lot about operators having concerns for the time it takes to get permits to fly into or over or through the airspace of a country. Given the fact that the model of business aviation is one of flexibility and the ability to fly where you want when you want, the need for expedited timely treatment of permit requests is really important.”
For the third principle, he said, “the economies recognize [that] they need to treat private operators in a manner that is appropriate to the operation. This is not about commercial scheduled airlines, this is about on-demand private operations that are a different model.
“And so the economies recognize that and they agreed to urge their various agencies to treat business aviation in a manner that is appropriate to that operation,” Edwards concluded.
GAMA’s Smith summarized the need for the 21 economies that are members of APEC to understand the core principles: “If you can’t fly [business aircraft], then you’re not going to buy them,” he said. “It’s very basic, but does set out the core principles. That is really the first step, but the hard work lies ahead. That is underway with follow-up meetings of working groups of APEC to put a little meat on the bones of these principles and start implementing them and have some ideas on how to move forward.”
APEC holds meetings twice a year, and the next one is in August in Hong Kong. NBAA’s Carr encouraged business aircraft operators, especially those flying in the Pacific Rim region, to participate in this effort. To do so they would need to work with their regulators.
“We want to focus on reasonable policies and regulations that are appropriate for our community,” Carr said. “Please express interest to your regulators.”