ASIAN BUSINESS AVIATION ‘10 LIFTS OFF IN MACAU
Inaugural show draws strong support as Asian market demand grows
I was fortunate enough to arrange the speaker programme for the first Asian Business Aviation show, which happened in Macau on Thursday 10 June. Named “Business Aircraft in Asia – a Buyer’s Guide” the conference at The Venetian on Macau’s Cotai Strip. The conference was aimed at end users, particularly from China, with topics including aircraft selection criteria, choosing a management company, the cost of chartering and flying in the region.
“Private aircraft charter enquiries have doubled since October 2009, providing a good indication of recovery in the Asian market,” said Macau based Chuck Woods, Chairman of AsBAA and President of Macau based JetAsia. He cited recent action by the Chinese authorities to dramatically reduce the time it takes to arrange overfly permits from six days to three hours and the progressive relaxation of other regulations.
International industry leaders including AsiaJet, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream and Hawker exhibited a total of twelve aircraft, with the aim of attracting more business from high growth markets across Asia. Aircraft on static display at Macau International Airport include the Bombardier Global XRS, Cessna Citation XLS+, Dassault Falcon 2000 / 7X , Embraer Lineage 1000, Gulfstream G150 / G200 / G 400 / G550 and Hawker 700XP / 900XP / 4000.
AsBAA chairman Chuck Woods moderated a pithy meeting, which covered issues ranging from what kind of aircraft to choose, to how to finance the purchase.
David Velupillai, product marketing director, executive & private aviation for Airbus outlined the different options for purchase. His own products the ACJ and Airbus A318 Elite and Prestige families are more useful for larger groups or people going on longer missions. Shorter range would be better served by looking at smaller aircraft. He said: “If you charter aircraft, the magic number where you should consider buying your own jet seems to be around 350 h per year.”
Robert B. Hollander, Citation Sales Director, Asia/Pacific described the reason for the urgent need to develop the sector in Asia as other businesses flourish. He said: “You can follow your own schedule and go to many more destinations direct – small airports or airports are infrequently served by airlines.” He urged participants to ‘buy what makes sense’ ie what is useful for most missions or your family/business needs. He summed it up with the phrase: “BUSINESS JETS ARE CARS, AIRLINES ARE BUSES”
Other OEM speakers included Gulfstream’s VP of marketing Bill Shira, Hawker Beechcraft’s Matthew Liu, regional sales director, North Asia, Lee Li, VP of Sales for Embraer China, and Dassault Falcon Jet Corp’s VP – Latin America and AsiaHawker Jean-Michel Jacob.
Jolie Howard, business development director for TAG Asia outlined the reasons why companies should use a management company, including compliance, maintenance and hiring staff. Mike Walsh, CEO of AsiaJet and Justin Liu of China’s GlobalJet Concept echoed her words and highlighted some of the extra challenges that could arise from using inexperienced staff.
Chuck Woods asked about the high prices of service fees and Joe Wilson MD of the ASA Group HK explained that multiple permits across Asia account for a large slice of these. He also said that the sector in Asia was :”An immature / inexperienced business aviation market.” He pointed to the short notice flight changes and extreme weather that can scupper the best laid plans. All the speakers pointed out that you cannot simply ‘get up and go’ in Asia.
John Bradley, Account Manager, Australia & New Zealand for Universal Weather and Aviation said that the high cost of fuel contributed to the costs in the region. He also said: “China has challenging navigation regulations which require specialists available 24/7 to avert delays.”
Legal and financial issues are a vital consideration with such a complex purchase and Paul Ng, global head of Aerospace, Stephenson Harwood Singapore, and Zohar Zik Aerospace department Barlow Lyde & Gilbert spoke to the difficulties of proceeding without proper advice. Paul Ng pointed out that Hong Kong can be a good base for aircraft because of its 0% tax options. Zohar Zik urged attendees to select the proper insurance and Min He, head of aviation, MinSheng Financial Leasing Corporation, China thanked the organisers for inviting Chinese companies and spoke of how vital it is to develop business aviation in China as the country becomes more prosperous.
“Asian economies are once again growing strongly, with China taking a leading role in the global recovery. This is the strategic driving force behind industry leaders being here at Asian Business Aviation today, since they recognise that Asia is where the action is for the long term,“ said Richard Thiele, Head of Global Sales – Aerospace & Aviation, Reed Exhibitions.
ABA ran alongside Reed Exhibitions’ Global Gaming Expo Asia, G2E Asia, the biggest and most influential gaming event in Asia, which attracted 4,500 delegates, including casino owners and many of the region’s high spenders.