Cool temperatures couldn’t chill the enthusiasm of the crowd at the opening ceremonies for ABACE 2015 here in Shanghai yesterday. Proclaiming it “a very big day for business aviation here in Asia and all over the world,” Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), welcomed attendees to the opening session.
The ceremony brought together leading aviation officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), the U.S. Department of Transportation and event co-sponsors NBAA, Shanghai Airport Authority and the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA).
Bolen noted that the first ABACE in Shanghai in 2005 featured a dozen aircraft on static display and 30 exhibitors; at ABACE 2015, attendees will find almost 40 aircraft on display and close to 200 exhibitors. He also pointed to the importance of attendant ABACE activities such as Student Day, to be held Thursday, that will “bring forward a new generation of business aviation professionals.”
Jin Yiming, president of the Shanghai Airport Authority, noted the aircraft on display here range from pistons to ultra-long-range business jets, underscoring that “customers for business aviation are able to have more customized choices” as the industry grows in China. He also pointed out that 41 percent of ABACE exhibitors are based in Asia, illustrating the region’s “vigorous development.”
Kevin Wu, outgoing chairman of the AsBAA, spoke of the exciting new developments attendees find at ABACE each year. “You will never be able to foresee what will be the new progress” on display here, he said.
Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, spoke of the “many important issues to discuss in coming days” affecting business aviation operations in the region, calling China “a critical partner of the U.S. as we work to foster more seamless international aviation operations.” Kurland highlighted the progress made through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group, which is working to reduce constraints hampering the growth of aviation in the region, stating, “This is all to say the Department of Transportation recognizes the value and importance of business aviation.”
Congratulating organizers on the event’s ongoing success, CAAC Deputy Administrator Wang Zhiqing said, “Business aviation has fully displayed its flexibility and convenience and high efficiency, and become an indispensible part of China’s aviation.” Noting that China’s economy “is in a transition period,” Zhiqing said, “General aviation and business aviation are expected to be the new growth points.”
He pointed to recent aviation conferences the authority has conducted, and the industrial development policies, free trade zones and other efforts the CAAC has undertaken to promote the industry. “CAAC, as always, will support the development and general aviation and try to deepen the supporting reform,” he said.