This year, Bombardier will launch one of the most ambitious flight-test programs in business aviation history. The Learjet 85 is scheduled to enter service in 2013 and as many as five test aircraft could make their first flights in the coming months.
ABACE Convention News
Avinode (ABACE Booth H525) believes its online charter portal can make it easier for operators and customers to maximize usage of available capacity in Asia. More and more Asian operators are joining the Avinode network, with the most recent additions being Korean Air, Hong Kong Jet, Asia Jet, Deer Jet and First Mandarin.
Various business and general aviation shows are springing up in China as ABACE itself returns again after a four-year break. In two weeks’ time the annual Hainan Rendezvous takes place in the Sanya Island holiday resort, at the southern tip of Hainan Island.
Cessna is looking to give longer legs to its new mid-size $14.9 million Citation Latitude in a move that should suit the Asian market. The company recently announced a 15-percent range increase for the aircraft, to 2,300 nm (4,257 km) and was quick to point out all the interAsian city pairings this made possible.
No one doubts that demand for business aviation is growing in Asia, but is the available aircraft capacity being developed sufficiently to meet this demand? It is not, according to Jean Noel Robert, president of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA), who believes that the lack of available charter aircraft is a real impediment to growth.
It came as no surprise to industry watchers that Minsheng Financial Leasing Co. Ltd. (MSFL) won the recent Corporate Jet Investor (CJI) award for Asian Business Jet Financier of the Year. MSFL has so far signed agreements for, and placed nonrefundable deposits on, more than 100 private aircraft acquisitions in China. The firm’s total registered capital is RMB five billion ($790 million).
Last month’s Singapore Airshow confirmed a trend that has been brewing for some time: that Indonesia is emerging as a business aviation hotspot in the Asia Pacific region. Last year the country’s economy grew at its fastest speed since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, with gross domestic product expanding by 6.5 percent.
Middle East-based flight support group Nexus Flight Operations Services is preparing to set up an operation in India. Nexus India is being established through a partnership with Mumbai-based Sovika Airline Services, which has been involved in aircraft handling and airport support for more than 20 years.
Invision Air is seeking to bring economies of scale to kick-start India’s executive charter sector. For the most part, the industry consists of small operators with no more than two or three aircraft each.
With 154 aircraft, India may still have the Asia Pacific region’s second largest business jet fleet (China has an estimated 215 jets), but the industry’s growth continues to be stunted by a lack of a policy framework that applies to it, as well as by inadequate infrastructure and regulatory barriers.