Construction of Hawker Pacific and the Shanghai Airport Authority's new business aviation centre at Shanghai Hongqiao airport has begun and is due to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The two parties have established a joint venture, Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Centre, in which Australia's Hawker Pacific has 49% and the Shanghai Airport Authority 51%.

A ground breaking ceremony was held recently to mark the start of construction of the apron, says Hawker Pacific chief executive Alan Smith, adding that the centre will have a maintenance, repair and overhaul operation due to be completed in August 2009 and a fixed-base operation - earmarked for completion later the same year.

The MRO will handle heavy maintenance for aircraft including Dassault Falcons and Hawker Beechcraft types. The company is seeking to expand its offering to include Bombardier, Embraer and Gulfstream business jets, says Smith, adding that the hangar will accommodate a Boeing 737-800, a Gulfstream and another smaller aircraft simultaneously.

The new business aviation centre at Shanghai Hongqiao is significant, Smith says, because the airport authority plans to transfer business jet operations from Shanghai Pudong to the new centre at Shanghai Hongqiao, Due to its proximity to the city centre Hongqiao should prove to be a popular choice among business travellers, he adds.

Source: Flight International