A busy aviation week in Singapore
Take several hundred people, a safety workshop, the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) Annual General Meeting, a Dealmakers Dinner and Corporate Jet Investor Asia. Add in some jet lag (especially for the significant number of people flying in from the US) and a decent pinch of socialising and you have Singapore Business Aviation Week. And this year it was a particularly upbeat one.
It is always hard to distil everything into a few themes, but here are some that stand out:
Infrastructure is still the biggest issue
Asia does not have as many secondary airports as the US or Europe. Getting slots at airports such as Hong Kong is still extremely difficult â€“ despite some significant wins by AsBAA. The same is true at many other airports across the region. Operating aircraft in Asia is not easy.
Regulators do not understand business aviation
Business aviation is still relatively new in the region and few regulators truly understand it (Australia â€“ a very mature market â€“ is one exception). Regulators and lawmakers need to know that business jets mean business. Foreign direct investment often starts when a business jet lands.
Airlines are tough competitors for space, staff and customers
Asia is already a very competitive market, but the real competition is airlines. Asia has a lot of very good airlines and also a lot of fast-growing low-cost carriers. These are taking slots and pilots. When business jet passengers cannot get slots into Hong Kong they fly commercial â€“ and service levels are very good.
Demand is rising
There are promising signs that key countries like Japan, India and Korea are starting to see a cultural change where younger entrepreneurs understand the benefits. India, however, still has high import taxes and key airports such as Mumbai are very congested. But people want to use business jets.
Support is improving
OEMs and MROs have invested heavily in aircraft support and are working on new projects. Some 70% of delegates at CJI Asia felt that OEMs are supporting aircraft well. There are still places where a technical problem can be a real hassle (rarely visited airports in China for example) but things are improving.
The overall theme is that this already important business aviation market will continue to grow â€“ probably by more than 10% this year. But everyone will need to keep working hard to make this happen. Thanks to everyone who spoke, sponsored or attended. It was a great week. And now it is time for some sleep.