Airframers and charter companies attending the inaugural Asian Business Aviation show in Macau approached the occasion with caution, and who can blame them?

During the financial downturn, charter sales suffered and customers put off orders for private jets. But with recovery, industry players are keen to take advantage of the potential growth in Asia, which has rebounded more quickly than other parts of the world.

The consensus at the show was clear: the worst is over. But whether that growth is sustainable looks, crucially, to depend on the economic giant that everyone is courting.

China was the buzzword in Macau, with businesses eager to sell aircraft, charter and management services to the "new rich".

However, this market does not come without its challenges. For one, businesses have to go beyond targeting the obviously prosperous - think tycoons and millionaires - and identify potential customers a level of wealth below that. Also, the cultural stigma that is still associated with flying in a private jet in Asia would have to be overcome if the business aviation industry is to grow healthily, say observers frustrated with restrictive government regulations.

There is no doubt business aviation in Asia is set to grow, but it will take time and may not be easy.

Source: Flight International