ABACE Convention News

Host FBO Shines for Eighth ABACE

 - April 13, 2019, 9:00 PM
The Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Centre is hosting about 170 exhibitors at this year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport.

Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Center (SHPBASC) is host once again to ABACE for the eighth consecutive time since the Asian business aviation showcase was relaunched in 2011. "We'd like to think we get a little better each year," said Carey Matthews, general manager of the facility. It will be the first time the show has taken place under the roof of Jet Aviation, which completed the acquisition of Hawker Pacific on May 2, 2018.

The western-style FBO at Hongqiao Airport opened in 2010 and added a 4,500-sq-m (48,437-sq-ft) second hangar last year, bringing it to a total of 8,500 sq m (91,500 sq ft) of space between the two structures, both of which will be used along with a temporary pavilion, to accommodate the approximately 170 exhibitors at the show this year.

According to Matthews, the two hangars have seen good aircraft occupancy rates over the past year, as Hongqiao, which on the general aviation side handles largely domestic flights, saw improvement over 2017’s numbers. “We had an acceptable increase in traffic at Hongqiao year-on-year,” said Matthews. "We are seeing more frequency on the customers that have the airplanes, they really haven't stopped flying."

Pudong Operations

Since it opened in 2010, SHPBASC has also managed the business jet operations at Pudong, the city’s international arrivals airport, which trailed off over the last few months of 2018. “We had a pretty noticeable drop off in international arrivals at Pudong,” noted Matthews. “Nothing catastrophic, but it was the first time we’ve actually seen a decrease year-on-year.”

At Pudong, an ambitious expansion project is rapidly proceeding, with the opening of a new terminal complex and the new Runway 5 eagerly anticipated. The new runway will be used to support airframer Comac’s C919 airliner flight-test program, as well as being for business aviation. With the expansion will come a new FBO, similar to the one at Hongqiao. What will eventually be the FBO’s ramp is currently being poured, and the new private terminal is expected to be completed by 2022 when the country once again hosts the Olympics. The airport’s first dedicated general aviation hangars are also expected. SHPBASC operates from two offices in the airport’s administrative buildings, where arriving crew and passengers can pass into the customs and immigration area.

Two years ago SHPBASC set up a high-density private jet parking area at Pudong, which it expanded last year, to accommodate 26 aircraft. On the ramp it has three modified shipping containers, which serve as remote offices and storage/charging areas for tow tugs. Once the new FBO on the east side of the airport is completed, that parking area will likely return to cargo use, as business aviation parking is expected to migrate to the east side as well.

A year ago, Hawker Pacific was purchased by Jet Aviation, which has been working to integrate the former company’s FBOs into its global network. While its locations in Australia and Singapore have since been rebranded as Jet Aviation, the Shanghai facility has thus far retained its name. “We’re still designated as Shanghai Hawker Pacific,” said Matthews. “The name Hawker Pacific has served us well, we have good brand presence in China.”

The company also operates an MRO facility at Hongqiao, and at the end of October it was designated a Gulfstream-authorized warranty facility. It can perform warranty repairs, line maintenance and aircraft-on-ground (AOG) support. “We’ve been gradually expanding the capacity for the Gulfstream support and we do the G450, G550, and G650 right now,” Matthews told AIN. “We have all the approvals and those are basically all the aircraft we see right now.” He added that the first G500 is expected to arrive in the country shortly, and SHPBASC will eventually add that to its expertise as well. “We’re happy the MRO is coming along pretty well after we did the Gulfstream approval,” said Matthews. “We’re seeing steady scheduled, AOG, and line maintenance for the Gulfstream program, along with Dassault and some Bombardier aircraft.”