New Asian Sky Group report says more infrastructure is needed


A new report by Asian Sky Group (ASG) highlights the need for improved business aviation infrastructure in the region.

“ASG’s Infrastructure Report highlights one of the industry’s greatest challenges,” said MD Jeffrey Lowe. “Within the next two years alone, Beijing, Manila and Singapore will reach runway capacity. Hong Kong is already over capacity. Terminals are no better, with eight of the top 11 airports in Asia already classified as ‘full’.”

Infrastructure is often cited as one of the main barriers for growth in any emerging markets. In China, where the rapid growth of the middle class has created a growing need for air transportation, first and even secondary airports are restricting slot times for business aviation movements to unfavourable or less busy times of the day. FBOs also face restrictions, with current government rules only allowing a single FBO at each airport.

China has, in recent years, sought to rectify this. A new commercial airport in Daxing, to the south of Beijing, is expected to open in the summer of 2019 to serve Beijing, Tianjin and the surrounding Hebei province, although the current main Capital Airport will remain open. Flights from nearby Nanyuan Airport will be transferred to Daxing, freeing up the airport for more military flights.

Business aircraft using Beijing might soon be getting its own airport. The Sanhe Business Aviation Airport, first talked about by Minsheng back in 2014, finally got the go-ahead earlier in 2017. Minsheng is no longer involved, and the new major shareholder is Capital Airport Holdings, which owns and operates the main Capital Airport.

Shanghai may also be getting its own dedicated business and general aviation airport, with a report in April stating that the city was looking into the possibilities.

Shanghai’s Hongqiao and Pudong airports are two of the most heavily slot-restricted airports for business aviation in China. Although they are both international-class airports, business aviation flights are restricted to using different airports depending on departure direction.

Outside the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong faces serious issues with not only slot access but also parking. Many aircraft using the airport drop passengers off at unfavourable times, then fly onto Guangzhou, Shenzhen or Zhuhai to park up, only to return to Hong Kong again once the passengers are ready to depart.

According to ASG’s report, Australia has the most developed infrastructure in the region, which reflects a more mature market more in line with Europe and the US. There are currently 19 FBOs operating in the country, with 249 airports available.

ASG says that Singapore’s Seletar Airport is one of the only airports in the region that is primarily dedicated to business aviation, and is home to several manufacturer-owned service centres. Singapore’s main airport, Changi, does handle some movements, although this is mostly dedicated to commercial flights.

Singapore Changi is one of the mainly commercial airports in the region that are rapidly reaching runway capacity, with the ASG report noting that Beijing and Manila will also be at capacity in the next few years. Hong Kong, the report says, is already full.