ABACE 2018: showcasing opportunities as Asian aviation blossoms
The general aviation industry in Asia Pacific and mainland China in particular, is entering a golden era. The opportunities from developing trade and growing economies attracts global businesses. For the past two decades Economic power is steadily shifting to the East led largely by China. With international business travel increasingly flowing to and from Asia, business aviation hubs are proliferating with a variety of service providers investing heavily to meet demand.
There are nearly 1,500 private jets operating in Asia Pacific. All who were serious about serving this growing Asian business aviation market, met last week at ABACE 2018. The ASM team were there, making their presence felt.
Hosted at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport, ABACE 2018 was quite a show. It featured an improved, visitor friendly layout, an interesting aircraft debut agenda and expanded exhibitor chalets. More than 175 exhibitors were on site at the biggest business aviation event in Asia. The 30 static displays made an impressive statement supporting what we already know “Asia is the future of Business Aviation”.
The most attention was, of course, on the host country – China. The latest developments in China’s business aviation sector were the focus of presentations by leaders in Industry and Government. China appears to have the will and desire to accommodate and attract business aviation.
Growing population, ascending GPD pursue changes in the consumer behaviour, enhancing purchase power. Companies entering the Asian, Chinese in particular market seem to understand better the modern priorities and enhanced efficiency of business achieved with charter travel. However, with rising demand for business aviation, the airports in China have their limitations. Currently, there are around 200 business jet capable airports and some of the most complex regulations on ground. At times, procurement of overflying permits, parking slots and ground handling is challenged by procedural delays which are amplified by language barriers. Quality business relations and partnerships come to the rescue in overcoming operational challenges.
The ASM team arrived to ABACE 2018 with big expectations and was not disappointed. Our business executives focused on renewing and strengthening existing relationships with suppliers and customers in the Asian market. This ABACE 2018 brought us many new prospective, reliable partner contacts and potential opportunities. Included in the trip were visits to the facilities of Hongqiao International Airport, FBO’s and logistic centres to ascertain first hand business relations. A solid line of agreements is a great occasion for ASM team to be back in Asia soon.
The ABACE 2018 was buzzing with enthusiastic presentations and discussions, all confirming Asia’s expanding horizons, its challenges and the efforts needed to break through in this market. The opportunities are endless and the ability to fulfill them will take committed effort to mature. Only those Flight Support providers who are adaptive, flexible and persistent have the chance to succeed. These are the qualities that ASM has in full measure.
Vito Gomes The founder and CEO of Aviation Services Management. Commentary given during the ABACE, Shanghai, China 17-19 April 2018