Home' Asian Aviation : AAV April 2019 Contents 18 AsianAviation | April 2019
Clear demand at ABACE
An upswing in civil aviation support from the Chinese government and an increase in enthusiasm
among Asian private jet entrepreneurs will add energy to this year’s landmark show in China for
business aircraft. Ralph Jennings previews the show.
THE ASIAN BUSINESS AVIATION CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION
(ABACE) scheduled in Shanghai for 16-18 April should bring in 150
exhibitors, at least the same as in 2018, said Dan Hubbard, senior
vice president of communications with event organiser the Wash-
ington-based National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Exhibitors, including the world’s best-known business jet vendors,
will use the event to scout for buyers among an increasingly diverse
and far-ranging group of fliers from China and elsewhere in Asia.
Some travel on business to Africa. Others need short hops to mines
in the rugged mountains of western China and still others are doing
“ There is a clear demand for improved capacity for business avi-
ation across Asia,” said David Dixon,
president of the business aircraft seller
Jetcraft Asia. “For instance, as China
ramps up international investment in
Africa and South America, having di-
rect access to remote or rural locations
is increasingly essential for businesses.
Private jets are the natural solution,
flying directly to smaller airports in less
time than commercial flights.”
ABACE will start on a high note as
exhibitors will know about the Chinese
government’s plan to open new civilian
airports, Hubbard said. Officials will
create 216 new ones for a total of 450
by 2035 with the broader goal of turn-
ing some into regional transport hubs,
the official Xinhua News Agency says.
“ The Chinese government continues
to support the growth of all aviation,
including business aviation,” Hubbard told Asian Aviation in March.
China’s five-year economic plan through 2020 calls for raising
the number of private aircraft from 3,000 to 5,000 and commercial
airports accessible to them from 310 to 500. The number of private
jets based in China rose from 299 in 2015 to 339 in 2017.
China’s State Council and the Central Military Commission have
gradually relaxed general aviation rules since 2014 to foster private
flights, a route to improving economic growth. Beijing’s six-year-old,
US$1 trillion Belt-and-Road initiative, aimed at building trade routes
across Eurasia, also points to more cross-border business travel
originating in China.
More Asian aviation entrepreneurs
This year more than 40 percent of ABACE exhibitors are based in
Asia, Hubbard said. The biggest names in business jets — Dassault,
Gulfstream and Textron, for example — hail from Western countries.
Interest among Asian exhibitors, the organiser said, is “critical to
both the show and success of business aviation in Asia”.
Among the region’s players, Hong Kong-based Metrojet Business
Aviation is in its 22nd year of maintenance, repair and management
of aircraft. The China-based HNA Group, which includes Hainan
Airlines, also maintains and manages private aircraft. Japanese
automaker Honda has branded its own business aircraft model, the
HondaJet, and Shanghai-based Oxai Aircraft makes an amphibious
two-seater that was a favourite back-
ground for selfies at ABACE in 2018.
Pilot training schools have popped up
to support Asia’s interest in business
Interest in business aviation makes
sense in Asia as the regional econo-
my is expanding due to gains in man-
ufacturing investment and consumer
spending. These trends have swept
through Southeast Asian countries
such as Vietnam, Indonesia and the
Philippines over the past five to 10
The Asia-Pacific business aviation
market should grow over the next 10
years with a projected 12 percent of
the global share, meaning 1,002 out
of 8,349 new unit deliveries, Dixon has
forecast. Asia-Pacific clients made up
15 percent of his company ’s transactions in 2017. The region’s market
has reached a point where a “cycle of upgrades and replacements
is in full swing,” he said.
But private jets are feeling the squeeze for space at Chinese
airports. Private jets are “at the bottom of this list ” for parking,
The Chinese government knows this, said Kevin Wu, aircraft maker
Textron Aviation’s international sales vice president for greater China.
“As other regions across the globe demonstrate the value of general
aviation to local economies and society, demand in China will drive
the change that is needed,” he said.
▲ The Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition
(ABACE), scheduled in Shanghai for 16-18 April, should
bring in 150 exhibitors, at least the same as in 2018.
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