Bell Helicopter held two maintainers and operators conferences in China at the end of April, in Beijing and Shanghai. The conferences helped Chinese operators learn more about Bell customer support and service enhancements and safety improvements and enabled discussion of technical issues. “We were pleased with the turnout at both locations,” said Chris Jaran, managing director, China. “It was apparent that our Chinese customers are focused on maintaining their Bell Helicopter products at the highest level.”
Russian Helicopters reported an increase in revenues, to RUB125.7 billion ($4 billion), for last year on the strength of a 10.7-percent increase in deliveries. “Last year we delivered 290 helicopters of nine different types to our clients from 19 countries,” said CEO Dmitry Petrov. The backlog stood at 817 helicopters, worth RUB350 billion ($11 billion) as of December 31.
Nextant Aviation has started to enjoy success in Asia. The U.S.-based remanufacturer of Beechjet 400s brought a Nextant 400XT to Hongqiao and used ABACE to announce that it has appointed China Great Wall Industry (CGWIC) as its dealer for China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Later, Nextant announced that CGWIC made its first sale at the event–to someone who saw the aircraft on display in the static and quickly become CGWIC’s first sales success. With all the talk of how long business deals take to come to fruition in China, the deal was of particular note for showgoers.
Aviation industry groups in the U.S. and Europe oppose a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan to establish a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport that would spare passengers the inconvenience of waiting at a customs checkpoint upon arrival in the U.S. A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers also questions the plan and has requested more information from the DHS.
Private aviation support provider Universal Weather & Aviation has augmented its network in Asia with a Hong Kong trip support office, now open 24/7 to meet growing demand in the region. Universal has assembled a team with local and cultural knowledge to assist its customers. According to the company, which has operated in the region for more than three decades, its Asia-based clients are using their aircraft more and taking more trips outside the region.
UK-based Gama Aviation (Booth P912) has been expanding rapidly in recent years, branching out from its home at the London-area TAG Farnborough Airport to set up bases in the U.S., Dubai, Sharjah and Switzerland, as well as establishing a presence at Glasgow in Scotland. And now China is firmly in its sights for growth.
“This is a milestone in the history of business aviation,” said NBAA president Ed Bolen at a press kickoff event for ABACE 2013 held in partnership with the Shanghai Airport Authority. “We’re delighted to be back in Shanghai.” The first ABACE was held in Shanghai in 2005. “With that initial show, we planted a seed,” Bolen said. “Thanks to a visionary number of leaders here in Shanghai and throughout the Chinese government, we’ve been able to see that seedling grow.”
On its way to Shanghai, the Pilatus PC-12NG on static display this week at ABACE stopped in Shangri-La for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Airport in Diqing (elevation 10,787 feet), it had a payload of 2,200 pounds. Included in this payload were six people, including two from the Chinese CAAC (aviation authority), a Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly used only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off.
On its way to Shanghai, the Pilatus PC-12NG here on the ABACE static display stopped in Shangri-La (Tibet) for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Diqing Airport–elevation of 3,288 meters (10,787 feet)–it had a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds). Included in this payload were six passengers (two from the CAAC), one Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly needed only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off the ground.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) holds 57 percent of the 336-strong business jet fleet of the Greater China area, while Hong Kong holds 33 percent; Macau is in third place, with 5 percent; and the Republic of China (Taiwan) has 3 percent of the fleet, according to a report released by Asian Sky Group (ASG), a Hong Kong-based business aviation consulting group. The company announced its formal launch at ABACE last year.