Asia's budding business aviation community is considering forming an association to help tackle the hurdles that impede growth of the industry in the region.

Operators, manufacturers and aircraft service companies attending the first annual Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) in Hong Kong in mid-July pledged to work together to promote business aviation and push for regulatory changes.

Issues to be tackled include airport and airspace access, regulations that are not harmonised across the region, high taxes and fees, and the absence of infrastructure including fixed base operations (FBO). The proposed Asian Business Aviation Association (ABAA) would advise governments to ease restrictions but avoid confrontational lobbying, which local companies say is counter-productive in Asia. Large multinational corporations looking to expand their Asian operations would be used to help inform regulatory bodies of the importance of business jets to prove such aircraft are more than a leisure tool for tycoons. For example, Home Depot senior director of flight operations Bill McBride says "flexibility of airspace, the ability to change schedules and to get in and out of the Asian arena" is hampering the US retailer's efforts to expand in Asia.

There are signs of change. China is introducing new Part 91 regulations for general aviation operators. Part 135 charter regulations could be issued by year-end and import tax on business jets eliminated.



Source: Flight International