International trip-support provider, Dubai-based Hadid, is bullish about continuing growth in China, as it sees burgeoning international travel, particularly to Africa, as a feature of the Asian landscape. “Despite operational challenges, it’s hard not to notice an upbeat mood in the industry, especially at events like ABACE,” Issa Zuriqi, Commercial Director, Hadid, told AIN in an interview.
“Hadid opened its Shanghai office in response to the growing demand for general aviation in China. With our Chinese sales and operations teams working closely together, we are excited to be participating again at ABACE in 2019 because it is a great platform for building relationships. ABACE is particularly important for us as we see China’s strong economic growth supporting profitability in 2019 and beyond.
“Whilst I am not going to say that China is changing, I will say authorities realize the potential of general aviation. We can see year-on-year growth as the authorities continue to focus on the development of strong networks and to promote general aviation operations. From ABACE to ABACE, we see new faces, operators and service providers entering the market. The Chinese market is still very promising.”
Zuriqi said Hadid served all types of aircraft. “We have been serving commercial and non-commercial Chinese operators into exciting markets such as Africa, a major business hub for cargo for construction and manufacturing projects. The construction of infrastructure such as airports by Chinese investors has been really interesting. Speaking to various authorities, I have been amazed at the scope of market discovery. With that go private jet operations into Africa.”
“We also are serving Chinese private jet operators in the Middle East, Europe and parts of Asia, but the reality is they go everywhere,” he said. “They fly for business. They fly for leisure.”
Chinese operators were flying a lot more internationally than domestically, he said. “China is a vast country with huge potential, domestically. However, we are seeing a steady increase in international operations. Let’s remember that China is on track to outpace the U.S. as the world’s largest economy, which will mean significant growth in the aviation sector. The increase in demand for long-range business aircraft in itself is indicative of operators wanting to fly non-stop internationally.”
Zuriqi also drew attention to the need for regulatory compliance, a feature of the landscape that is spilling over from the banking and finance communities into other high-value, prestige sectors.
“I think that a significant challenge, and perhaps one which is not discussed enough in the industry, is of adherence to anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations and compliance policies in this increasingly complex business climate,” he said. “Hadid takes these policies very seriously and we remain committed to conducting business lawfully and ethically.”
With high passenger throughout at airports in China, there are many challenges for general aviation operators when seeking approvals, and numerous restrictions which have to be dealt with. “This is one of the areas of Hadid’s expertise,” Zuriqi said. “Higher traffic and positive economic growth also mean an influx of new clients and businesses from all over the world.”