Membership of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) has risen from 45 to 58 over the past year, with the most recent company to sign up joining just before yesterday’s annual general meeting held on the eve of the ABACE show in Shanghai. The new member is AIN, publisher of ABACE Convention News.
Flight Training Adelaide, which trains cadets for airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Qantas, QantasLink, JAL Express and J-Air, has ordered eight firm and 18 optional Diamond DA40 light single-engine aircraft for its Parafield, Australia base. The contract was signed with Diamond Aircraft in conjunction with Australian distributor Hawker Pacific, which will provide after-sales support.
Not without reason, China continues to dominate expectations for business aviation growth in Asia, but the continent as a whole presents a vast if complex opportunity for the industry.
While the latest reports indicate a decline in the worldwide business jet charter market, certain parts of Southeast Asia are bucking the trend. Hong Kong, in particular, is flourishing. With five locally based operators and several international charter brokers in situ, China’s Special Administrative Region is bursting at the seams.
Asia is set to be at the epicenter of a resurgence in business jet sales, according to Honeywell Aerospace’s latest market forecast. In the most recent survey, 58 percent of operators in Asia indicated that they intend to replace or expand their fleets over the next five years. This was step up from the 2008 survey, when almost 50 percent had said they would buy new aircraft following a nine-point gain that year compared with 2007.
“Last year was a great year for business aviation in Asia, especially the Greater China Region. I believe it was a record year of growth. We had more aircraft deliveries, more new operators started and more investment into business aviation infrastructure,” said Jason Liao, sales director for China at Bombardier Business Aircraft.
“Kowloon City used to be the place for dinner before flying from Kai Tak Airport. Now it’s quiet,” says Victor Lau, a helicopter pilot with the Government Flying Service (GFS) of China’s Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong (HKSAR). In July 1998, the GFS was the first tenant of the abandoned Kai Tak Airport to move 45 minutes west to the new Chek Lap Kok (CLK) Airport on Lantau Island.
The development of a composite and metal bond component repair station is in progress in the Asia-Pacific region as a joint venture between Spirit AeroSystems and several major aviation companies.
Spirit will partner with Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company and its subsidiary, TAECO, along with Oklahoma-based First Wave MRO, to establish a regional service center near TAECO’s facility in Xiamen, China.
Marco Cavazzoni says to mark his words: “We’ll deliver the first 747-400 Special Freighter on December 13. Cathay Pacific Airways will put it into revenue service within a couple of days.” Cavazzoni, who leads the 747 passenger-to-freighter conversion program for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, added, “We’re told that such a firm date is unusual…customers will keep that date in their pocket.”