ABACE 2018 is opening this year with new features and an increasingly Asian exhibitor list that underscore the potential for business aviation in China and across Asia, Ed Bolen, president and CEO of NBAA, said on the eve of the three-day conference and exhibition.
Bolen and Lu Xun, vice general manager for the Shanghai Airport Authority Assets Investment and Management Co., highlighted the commitment on the part of the government and industry to support the expansion of business and general aviation in China during the annual media luncheon on Monday. This commitment will be on display throughout ABACE, they said.
“You’ll hear throughout this week, at all levels, there is a confidence that the future of business aviation in the region is bright,” Bolen said.
Chief of the new features is a just-opened hangar at the host Shanghai Hawker Pacific FBO. The new hangar, which enables an exhibit floor across two hangars, will showcase more than 170 exhibitors, Bolen said. Many exhibitors are at ABACE for the first time, and 40 percent are based in China and other countries in the region, “making this a truly Asian show,” he said. “The emergence of these Asian-based aviation businesses is one important sign of the industry’s promise and growth in the region.”
So too is SHP's second hangar, he added. “It’s a great addition to ABACE, but more importantly, demonstrates the reality that business aviation is recognized as having real potential in China and across Asia,” Bolen said. “The new hangar is a great asset for the airport, further positioning it to support business aviation, which is good news for this city and this region.”
Xun agreed, saying, “Shanghai Airport Authority has always prioritized the development of business aviation." He added the Chinese government also has identified general aviation as a priority.
Under the government’s 13th five-year plan, business and general aviation volume will double, with plans for more than 5,000 general aviation aircraft, flight time reaching 2 million hours, and general aviation airports numbering 500 by 2020. Under the plan, almost every major city will have a general aviation airport, Xun noted.
That growth presents investment opportunities for the industry, as it is increasingly being recognized for its importance to air medical, tourism, forestry, and other transportation needs, Xun said.
“Government leaders are enacting policies reflecting the industry’s value,” Bolen added, noting this emphasis will be highlighted during ABACE’s Opening General Session today.
The session will feature government leaders, including Jiang Huai Yu, deputy party secretary and director general of the Eastern regional headquarters for the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC); Cai Jun, deputy director general of the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission; Wu Jianrong, chairman of the Shanghai Airport Authority; and Wang Jijie, Shanghai Airport Authority vice president.
ABACE also will have an international presence with the consul generals from France, the U.S., and Canada, along with a leader of the U.S.–China Aviation Cooperation Program, also participating.
Along with this focus at the Opening General Session, leaders from the CAAC and the Shanghai Airport Authority are participating in a Business Aviation Development Forum.
This year’s show is anticipated to attract thousands of attendees from 50 countries. Thirty aircraft are on display, representing a cross-section of the industry, from pistons to intercontinental jets and helicopters.
“These indicators of enthusiasm for this show and industry make one thing clear: business aviation is becoming ever-more established in this region,” Bolen said.