The Beijing Business Aviation Association (BBAA) has developed a pilot-sharing system to help China business aircraft operators not only save money on crew costs but also increase safety and efficiency. According to BBAA director general Frank Fang, the pilot-sharing effort is the first step, and during the ABACE show this week BBAA members met again to discuss possible cost savings in MRO and ground handling. BBAA’s membership also includes companies from these sectors.
Fang said this effort is also to help operators in China achieve greater efficiency and lower costs, which are higher than for operators in other parts of the world despite the actual operating cost of aircraft being similar and staffing costs being, in general, lower.
BBAA membership has grown to 58 since its foundation in 2016. Fang, who also works for Deer Jet, said about 20 members are operators in mainland China, which is the association's focus area. Given restrictions on using China in the association’s name, it was simpler to use Beijing, but this is just the association’s location.
Mainland China members include Deer Jet, BAA, Sino Jet—whose president Jenny Lau is chairperson of AsBAA, as well as being on the board of BBAA—and Eastern Jet. At the latter’s Shanghai Hongqiao base, BBAA held a meeting aimed at addressing costs of operating in China on the eve of ABACE 2019. At the meeting, Fang said members signed an accord on sharing pilots, an effort headed by the BBAA Flight Professional Committee. The committee has been working on this effort for the past year, and now the agreement template is finalized and available on the BBAA website for members to download and use.
Fang said that being based in Beijing is ideal for BBAA as it needs to focus on influencing policy and educating politicians and regulators about business aviation and what would help it prosper. He conceded that it is a long path but said a step-by-step approach by the association is already producing results in areas such as reducing the cost of airport ground handling, the number-one issue at present. BBAA has “a lot of contact” with China aviation regulator CAAC on this issue, he added. On a wider basis, he noted “so many things have to be changed” in the longer term to help business aviation.
BBAA held its third member conference in March and will hold another later this year, while it has a board meeting every quarter. Meanwhile, Edison Wang joined BBAA as executive assistant, responsible for overseeing the association's administration and helping new and existing members.