Emerging market China is experiencing a boom in the demand for business aviation and tapping into this market, China aircraft charter and management company Business Aviation Asia (BAA) and joint venture partner Shenzen Airlines are to build a business aviation operation and support infrastructure.
The partnership formed early last year, to be known as the Asia United Business Aviation (AUBA), will exploit the phenomenal demand for business aircraft in the country.
The partners were awarded an air operator's certificate (AOC) by the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), paving the way for AUBA to manage private owner's business jets and charter business jets in and out of China under new Part 135 regulations developed by the authority.
Simultaneously AUBA has also received approval from the CAAC to build a fixed-base operation at Shenzhen's Baoan International airport - "only the third dedicated business aviation facility in China with Beijing and Shanghai the site of the other two operations".
AUBA's first registered aircraft will be a Gulfstream G200 super mid-size business jet scheduled to enter service this month.
Jay Shaw, director of Hong Kong-based BAA, says the approvals constitute strategic and significant milestones for the partners' growth plans in China.
"This AOC will give our customers tremendous advantages when operating to and within China, which has very costly and cumbersome regulations for foreign registered aircraft," he says.
While the fixed based operation (FBOs), which will include 15,000m² (160,000ft²) of hangar space and 10,000m² of ramp space when it opens next year, "will not only provide business aviation services for the whole Pearl River Delta, but also more affordable, supplemental services for the already constrained business aviation facilities in Hong Kong", he says.
The partners have invested $40 million in AUBA, which will be mainly be funnelled into the construction of FBO in Shenzhen and in Beijing.
"This is only the first step," he says and adds that in the medium term, it will look into other FBOs in China, perhaps in partnership with a Western FBO provider.
He is keen to focus on secondary airports "closer to business travellers' ultimate destinations and away from flow controlled, slot limited main airports."
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