‘New Normal’ Could Bring Opportunity for Bizav in Asia

 - April 22, 2020, 11:50 AM

The Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) is hoping general aviation and business aviation stakeholders will seize the current opportunity to expand their businesses and presence as governments around the region look at general/business aviation in a different light following the Covid-19 pandemic, the AsBAA board said yesterday during a webinar.

“Life is never the same after Covid-19,” said AsBAA chairman Wu Zhengdong, who is also Avlon Pacific’s chairman and CEO. “China is concerned about the second [virus] wave and many facilities are still under shutdown or only partially opened. General aviation companies are operating but not to a full scale. But we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” Wu expects near normalcy to return in one to two months in China.

During the first quarter, around 80 percent of general/business aviation clients were central government or provincial governments mounting humanitarian flights, which Wu said is an encouraging sign as the governments now see the sector’s advantage. Company executives also see business jets as a safer way to fly versus sitting next to a stranger on an airliner.

The trend is similar in the Philippines, where general/business aviation aircraft are being used to resupply communities in remote regions.

AsBAA vice-chairman and TAG Aviation director of maintenance Phil Balmer said the situation in Hong Kong is more “interesting.” Based on a survey issued to AsBAA members, he said, around 75 percent see its business drastically affected.

While the struggle for slots at Hong Kong International Airport has disappeared, Balmer said, parking is now a major issue with many commercial and business aircraft grounded. Around 95 business jets are currently parked there.

In the near-term post-Covid-19, Balmer thinks business aviation could see more capacity and slots available as commercial aviation recovers more slowly.