“This is a milestone in the history of business aviation,” said NBAA president Ed Bolen at a press kickoff event for ABACE 2013 held in partnership with the Shanghai Airport Authority. “We’re delighted to be back in Shanghai.” The first ABACE was held in Shanghai in 2005. “With that initial show, we planted a seed,” Bolen said. “Thanks to a visionary number of leaders here in Shanghai and throughout the Chinese government, we’ve been able to see that seedling grow.”
On its way to Shanghai, the Pilatus PC-12NG on static display this week at ABACE stopped in Shangri-La for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Airport in Diqing (elevation 10,787 feet), it had a payload of 2,200 pounds. Included in this payload were six people, including two from the Chinese CAAC (aviation authority), a Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly used only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off.
On its way to Shanghai, the Pilatus PC-12NG here on the ABACE static display stopped in Shangri-La (Tibet) for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Diqing Airport–elevation of 3,288 meters (10,787 feet)–it had a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds). Included in this payload were six passengers (two from the CAAC), one Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly needed only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off the ground.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) holds 57 percent of the 336-strong business jet fleet of the Greater China area, while Hong Kong holds 33 percent; Macau is in third place, with 5 percent; and the Republic of China (Taiwan) has 3 percent of the fleet, according to a report released by Asian Sky Group (ASG), a Hong Kong-based business aviation consulting group. The company announced its formal launch at ABACE last year.
VistaJet is working hard to get its new Chinese joint venture up and running by the end of 2013. In January, the operator established an office in Hong Kong and it has now staffed this with a sales team. The next step will be to establish a representative office in Beijing with its joint venture partner and it has begun the licensing process to establish a Chinese air operators’ certificate (AOC) and register some of its aircraft in the country.
Indonesia’s Sky Aviation took delivery of its first Sukhoi Superjet 100, Sukhoi announced on February 27. Superjet S/N95022–the first of 12 SSJ100s ordered by Sky Aviation–flew to Jakarta Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport following interior installation and painting at the Aviastar plant in Ulianovsk, Russia.
Sky has sent the airplane to its base in Makassar, South Sulawesi, from where it planned to begin flying routes to Denpasar, Bali; Balikpapan, East Kalimantan; and Sorong, Papua, on March 10.
The Middle East presents plenty of opportunity for business aviation growth, and at last month’s Abu Dhabi Air Expo businesses reported that their investment in the region–and beyond–is paying dividends.
Saudi Arabia and Great Britain have still not agreed to terms for a resumption of Eurofighter Typhoon deliveries. Twenty-four aircraft are operational in the Middle East kingdom, out of the total 72 agreed in the Al-Salam deal. Construction of numbers 25 upward began in 2009, but instead of proceeding to the final assembly line, the subassemblies were placed in storage at BAE’s Warton factory. When they were eventually moved into final assembly last year, it seemed that an agreement was close.
The wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 racked up yet another city-pair speed record, flying the 6,329-nm trip between Melbourne, Fla., and Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 13 hours and 5 minutes nonstop. It cruised at an average speed of Mach 0.87, carrying five crew and two passengers. Once verified by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association, the record will be the flagship aircraft’s sixth city-pair milestone this year.
Russia’s Yakutia Airlines took the first of three Bombardier Q400 turboprops to its base at Yakutsk Airport in late January, marking the first-ever delivery of the big turboprop to a Russian operator. Yakutia’s new status as a Q400 operator follows type approval for the type by Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) in June last year.