“There has been an enormous amount of energy and enthusiasm here in Shanghai at ABACE, despite the change in weather from sunny skies on the opening day [yesterday] to rain today,” NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told AIN as he summed up the show so far. According to NBAA and show co-organizer Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA), ABACE 2014 has already attracted a record-breaking 187 exhibitors and 38 static-display aircraft. And Bolen expects the number of attendees this year to top the 7,714 people who came through the doors during ABACE 2013.
AINalerts » April 16, 2014
NetJets is preparing to launch its NetJets China business this summer, by which time it expects to receive Chinese government approval for an air operator certificate. It has also hired “key people” over the past few months in the run-up to the launch of NetJets’ Chinese joint-venture operation, NetJets Business Aviation, which initially will provide aircraft management services.
At a meeting today at ABACE 2014 in Shanghai, members of key business aviation associations updated attendees on the core Statement of Principles for Business Aviation approved by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministers in September.
At the “Business Aviation Growth and Opportunities” session yesterday at ABACE 2014, aircraft broker Jay Mesinger moderated a panel discussion on how best to navigate what can be stormy waters. He opened the discussion with a reminder that business jet values plummeted after the financial meltdown of 2008, with many aircraft losing up to 70 percent of their pre-recession values.
Speaking at the “Helicopter Operations” seminar today at ABACE 2014, Bell Helicopter China managing director Chris Jaran said the helicopter fleet in China has grown by an average of 20 percent annually from 2009 through 2014, to 465 aircraft from 227. The Chinese rotorcraft fleet is 35 percent piston-powered and 65 percent turbine, he noted.
Training specialist FlightSafety International signed a multi-year agreement with Chinese business jet leasing firm Minsheng Business Aviation yesterday at ABACE 2014. Under the deal, FSI will train pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants and dispatchers for Gulfstream G450/550 operators Beijing Capital Airlines and Shanghai Deer Jet. Most of the training will take place at FSI’s Hong Kong learning center, which opened in 2012. FSI also named Paul Statskey as its new program manager at the Hong Kong facility.
Lufthansa Technik introduced two new products for private jet cabins at ABACE 2014: an aircraft steam generator system and an onboard therapeutic oxygen generation system. The 40-pound steam generator, which does not need to be connected to the aircraft’s existing water system, facilitates installation of steam showers in VIP aircraft. The oxygen generation system, which weighs 66 pounds, provides oxygen continuously via a mask for up to two connections. Either system can be installed in a midsize or larger business jet during cabin outfitting or as a retrofit.
Piaggio Aero designated Tianjin International Airport-based Freesky Aviation as its first authorized service center in mainland China. Freesky, which also offers aircraft charter and management services, introduced the first Avanti II twin turboprop to China in 2012. According to Han Wenjun, Freesky’s vice president of maintenance, “We will provide comprehensive service to all Avanti operators and we will further expand the customer service network of Piaggio Aero.”
The Japan National Police Agency ordered another AgustaWestland AW139, the Italian helicopter manufacturer and its distributor Mitsui Bussan Aerospace announced at ABACE yesterday. The medium twin is scheduled to enter service next year for operations in Kagoshima Prefecture. More than 40 AgustaWestland helicopters are currently supporting law enforcement throughout various Japanese prefectures. According to AgustaWestland, Japan already uses the AW139 for critical missions such as search-and-rescue, firefighting and disaster relief.
Shenzhen-based Avion Pacific sold seven Sikorsky S-92s and nine S-76Ds, as well as half a dozen Beechcraft King Airs, in China last year, it announced this week at ABACE 2014. The helicopters will be delivered by year-end. Eight of the S-76s are slated for Chinese government use and one for a private customer. Six of the S-92s will enter oil-and-gas industry service, and one was purchased by a private customer. Avion Pacific’s 50 employees serve a variety of aviation segments in China, with a particular focus on utility helicopters.