The Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Center (SHPBASC), which is hosting ABACE this week here at Hongqiao International Airport, has made a lot of progress since the 2012 show. According to general manager Carey Matthews, the amount of traffic it has received since 2009 has grown by as much as 12 percent each year. This trend has continued so far in 2013 and by year-end the facility expects to have exceeded 4,000 movements for the first time in its history.
Gulfstream Aerospace has been making major investments of its own to boost customer support in China. In November 2012 the U.S. manufacturer opened the country’s first factory-owned business jet service center at Beijing Capital International Airport.
VistaJet is working hard to get its new Chinese joint venture up and running by the end of 2013. In January, the operator established an office in Hong Kong and it has now staffed this with a sales team. The next step will be to establish a representative office in Beijing with its joint venture partner and it has begun the licensing process to establish a Chinese air operators’ certificate (AOC) and register some of its aircraft in the country.
NetJets says that it has made good progress with its joint venture in the People’s Republic of China since announcing its entry into the country’s private aviation market during last year’s ABACE. It will begin by managing and chartering aircraft that are wholly owned by customers, rather than launching into fractional ownership as it did several years ago in the U.S. and Europe. However, fractional aircraft and card services may be added later as the market for private aviation services in China continues to develop, it noted.
With the rapid development of China’s economy, business aviation is viewed by many in the country as a so-called “Blue Ocean industry” with vast potential. As estimated by Embraer in its last market forecast, by 2020 China may represent a market for as many as 635 business jets. Bombardier is even more optimistic, projecting a need for almost 1,000 more business jets in the coming decade.
The Obama administration has proposed a $526.6 billion defense budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that continues funding for developmental priorities, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46A tanker and a future long-range bomber. The President’s base defense budget does not include funding for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and does not reflect budget cuts mandated by sequestration.
Boeing subsidiary Insitu has sold several export variants of its Integrator unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to international customers, the company said this week. The Block 2 variant for export is described as a separate baseline system to the 135-pound maximum takeoff weight (mtow) Integrator being developed for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps RQ-21A small tactical UAS (STUAS) requirement. The Integrator and its smaller sister, the 44-pound mtow ScanEagle, use a common pneumatic catapult launch and SkyHook catch cable retrieval systems, and a common command-and-control system.
Jeppesen has teamed with kit aircraft manufacturer Lancair to include charts and NavData service with the purchase of Lancair Evolution turboprop singles. The charts and data service are part of a PilotPak data bundle that also includes supplemental databases, such as obstacle, terrain, SafeTaxi and airport diagrams. In addition, as part of the data bundle service, access to Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck on the iPad is included at no additional charge.
Business aircraft flying dipped for the second month in a row, with activity falling 2.6 percent year-over-year last month, according to TraqPak data released on Tuesday by aviation services company Argus. The company did note that the earlier Easter holiday–which fell in March this year but in April last year–could have affected business activity last month.
As expected, President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014, released yesterday, includes a proposed aviation user fee–just as previous budgets have since 2007 when the Bush Administration first floated the idea.