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.”
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.
China broke into the ranks of the five largest arms exporting countries for the first time since the end of the Cold War, displacing the UK in the volume of arms deliveries, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). The UK dropped from the list for the first time since at least 1950, the Swedish institute said.
The FAA has approved the Shanghai Hawker Pacific FBO as a foreign repair station, allowing it to support U.S.-registered aircraft in China. The company applied for the approval just a few days before the FAA stopped taking applications on Aug. 3, 2008, due to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s failure to introduce security rules for such facilities.
“An increasingly prosperous population, an influx of multinational companies, relaxation of the low-altitude airspace rule and a string of growth stimulus expected from [new leaders] means there will be an unprecedented demand for business air travel in China,” Jackie Wu, president of Hong Kong-based business aviation consultancy Jetsolution, said last week at a luxury goods show in Xian, China.
Air China and GA Telesis have agreed to establish an Asia-based integrated spare parts supplier in China. After almost a year of planning, the companies have respective top management approvals to move forward with the formation of GA Telesis China (GATC), a joint venture based in China. The enterprise claims it will be the first aircraft part-out business and integrated full-scale redistribution stock list based in China covering the entire Asian market.
A last-ditch campaign to have the FAA modify its final rule revising FAR Part 145 appears to have paid off for several aviation maintenance trade associations. The Office of Management and Budget, the last stop in the bureaucratic review process, returned the rule to the FAA for reconsideration on July 20.
Integrating pilot seniority, one of the thorniest issues created when fractional-operator Flight Options acquired Raytheon Travel Air earlier this year, has apparently been resolved. In a mandatory vote this past summer, pilots adopted a seniority program called modified date-of-hire.
Business aircraft passengers and crews are facing fines and delays after inadvertently falling afoul of French Customs regulations on currency. According to FBOs at Paris Le Bourget Airport, customs officers there are rigidly enforcing the requirement to declare currency in excess of £7,622 ($8,239) when arriving in or departing from France.
ERA member airlines continue to express concern about proposals for a significant overhaul of regulations governing the region’s deregulated air-transport area. Any European Commission (EC) changes to the so-called “third package” rules agreed upon by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Transport Ministers will likely go into effect either next year or in 2009, according to ERA.