With precious little sign of a meaningful economic recovery in the main Western economies of North America and Europe, the business aviation industry is pursuing growth more intently than ever in the emerging markets of the East. Nowhere epitomizes these expectations quite like China, with its soaring corporate and private wealth.
Business aircraft sales, acquisitions, trading and brokerage services firm Jetcraft opened a new office in Hong Kong today under the Jetcraft Asia banner. This establishes a permanent base in Asia for the company, which has been active in the region despite not having a “formal presence” there. Jetcraft co-owner and board member Jahid Fazal-Karim predicts a growing market for pre-owned business aircraft in Asia, particularly in China, within the next five years.
Enterprise Florida (Booth N77), a public-private partnership that oversees the U.S. state’s economic development efforts, attends Singapore and other global air shows to help Florida companies in industries that include aviation, aerospace and defense with global expansion and trade leads.
Canada’s Manitoba Department of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade (Booth U98) has an exhibit at the Singapore Airshow for the first time to assist small and medium-sized companies look for new or expanded business opportunities.
The supply of parts, assemblies and services for Boeing products has created valuable new economic opportunities in Southeast Asia in recent years. In fact, since 2009, Boeing suppliers have established aerospace manufacturing centers for commercial aircraft production in five Southeast Asia countries: Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. Meanwhile, Boeing suppliers in other countries, including Australia and Malaysia, have added new commercial or defense manufacturing capacity to their portfolios.
Aircraft charter provider VistaJet plans to step up its expansion of operations across Russia, Asia, Africa and South America. By 2015, the Switzerland-based group also intends to double the size of its fleet to more than 60 jets. VistaJet is in talks with prospective partners in China and expects to have an established operation there by year-end. On January 12, the company reported that it anticipates final figures for 2011 to show a 20-percent increase in passenger numbers and a 25-percent hike in revenues. It also anticipates 50-percent growth in profits.
With less than two months to go before the opening of this year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (Abace) in Shanghai, organizers report that exhibition space for the event is sold out. NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen notes that a new pavilion area added to accommodate the overflow has also been filled. “To see that area sell out along with our original floor space underscores the significant interest in the show in China and across the Asian region,” he said.
Despite some media reports stating that Piper Aircraft was recently sold to the Government of Brunei, the Vero Beach, Fla. airframer told AIN that the transaction of authority for the company from corporate finance and investment management firm Imprimis to Brunei’s Ministry of Finance was merely a formalization of the original 2009 sale of the company by American Capital. In a release the company stated, “Piper Aircraft has been an investment of the Government of Brunei since 2009.
This year we could finally find out whether China will fully realize its potential as the world’s most dynamic new market for business aviation. For all the high-octane speculation about growth in China, 2011 closed with fewer than 200 business aircraft registered in the country and continuing difficulties in getting them imported and flying for the new jet-set in the People’s Republic.
Odyssey Aviation Bahamas has opened two handling locations on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. The new locations are at Governors Harbour Airport (MYEM) and Rock Sound Airport (MYER). Sylvie McCartney is station manager for both locations.