The market for regional aircraft would be much bigger than it is today if there was more financing available for regional aircraft and if there were liberal air services agreements in place.

At the Inside Air Finance conference, held at Asian Aerospace, senior representatives from some of the world's top regional aircraft-makers entered into a lively debate sparked by a question from the floor over whether the world market can support so many regional aircraft manufacturers.

The inference was that some countries such as China and Japan are seeking to make regional aircraft as a matter of national pride and that the global market is too small to support so many players.

Bombardier vice-president Asia Pacific sales Trung Ngo told the delegates, who were mostly from the financial community, that there is plenty of demand for regional aircraft but the problem is financing.

"One of the fundamental issues we have with regional jets is financing. You [the finance community] are doing a lot of business with Airbus and Boeing," he said, adding that there was relatively little business done with regional jet manufacturers.

"Financing is the key and one of the fundamentals of success of aircraft programmes," he said. It is "a lack of financing, not a lack of demand".

ATR president of eastern support, Christophe Potocki, says the key to market growth is liberalisation of air services.

In the Asia-Pacific region "we are seeing more liberalised air services" agreements being signed and this is leading to growth.

He cites as an example the Malaysia-Singapore sector where a recently signed air services agreement has paved the way for the introduction of new regional routes linking the two countries.

"There is definitely a moderate trend in Asia Pacific and we can see that the market is opening up and this is creating opportunities for whole segments of the market," he adds.

Source: Flight Daily News