For reasons ranging from high fuel costs to regulatory complexity, European regional airlines still face “a very difficult time,” according to European Regions Airline Association (ERA) director general Simon McNamara. Meanwhile, persistently weak economic data continue to “depress people’s willingness to travel,” he said, leading to contraction of the European airline industry as a whole.
Japanese authorities on Friday followed the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in formally approving Boeing’s modifications to the 787’s battery system.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is redoubling efforts to help African airlines improve the continent’s poor accident rate. “It is no secret that the biggest gap [in airline safety performance] is in Africa,” said IATA director general Tony Tyler at the group’s international operations conference in Vienna on April 15. “Compared with a world rate of 0.20 Western-built jet hull loss accidents per million sectors in 2012, Africa’s rate was 3.71.”
After spending many years introducing business jets to Chinese owners and founding his own company in 2010 to serve the rapidly evolving market for business aviation in China, Jason Liao has developed a unique perspective about general aviation operations in China. He is also the U.S. National Business Aviation Association’s chief representative in Asia.
Flight Explorer, exhibiting at the ABACE show here in Shanghai for the first time, claims to offer much more than flight tracking, although that is one of the company’s core products. It can track aircraft equipped with Iridium satellite communications systems anywhere in the world, and provide a private feed of that data to customers who operate those aircraft. Flight Explorer (Booth H525) is a Sabre group company, and also provides flight tracking via global radar feeds of aircraft flying in airspace controlled by the U.S.
Marching to the theme of the Star Wars movies, speakers for the 2013 opening session of ABACE found their places on the broad stage in the Shanghai Hawker Pacific hangar at Hongqiao International Airport and the event began.
The general theme of all the speakers, from Ed Bolen, president, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), to Gary Locke, United States Ambassador to China, was one of cooperation of efforts to bring a vibrant and viable business aviation industry to China.
Business aviation in China is a challenging occupation, but Hongkong Jet has tapped into a market where customers expect a high level of service and are willing to pay the extra cost. “Here in Asia, people don’t mind paying extra for better service,” said Chris Buchholz, CEO of Hongkong Jet, which is headquartered in Hong Kong and is the business aviation arm of China’s HNA Group. Hongkong Jet and sister company Deer Jet are exhibiting aircraft here on the static display.
Bangkok, Thailand-based charter group OrientSkys recently announced a new strategic business alliance with Beijing Airlines (formerly Air China Business Jet). Beijing Airlines, which Air China established in 2003 as the state-owned airline’s private charter arm, operates a Bombardier Challenger 605 and a Global Express XRS, as well as a Gulfstream G450 and a 28-seat Boeing Business Jet for charter.
UK-based Gama Aviation (Booth P912) has been expanding rapidly in recent years, branching out from its home at the London-area TAG Farnborough Airport to set up bases in the U.S., Dubai, Sharjah and Switzerland, as well as establishing a presence at Glasgow in Scotland. And now China is firmly in its sights for growth.
The imminent merger of the freight operations of TWO Aviation and Flex Aero will create the largest express freight carrier in Brazil, Two-Flex. The new operation expects to command 60 percent of the country’s air cargo market, with 18 aircraft and 11 bases throughout the country. Flex Aero’s operations are stronger in the north of Brazil, and TWO’s in the center and south. “Now, I can go from the north of Brazil to Porto Alegre in the far south. Before, I couldn’t offer that,” said Flex Aero president Rui Aquino.