According to experts in Asia, the growth in the business aviation industry and other sectors spells great news for the economies of those countries, but improvements are needed in both infrastructure and regulatory systems to sustain that growth and improvement.
The regional differences are as much to blame in China, for example, the huge costs involved with private and business passenger processing are unrealistic and described as ‘outrageous’ by Chris Buchholz, Hong Kong’s Metrojet Executive Director.
Mr Buchholz said, “Governments outside China must do much more to unlock this market.”
Lead times can be wearing, as military governed airspace in China can encounter permit delays of as many as seven days to process, and flexibility is almost non-existent, due to the strict insistence of fixed flight planning in advance – this, of course, is not much use to business and private jet aviation.
Similar problems are encountered all over Asia, with India’s infrastructure described as “Woefully inadequate” by the President of the Business Aviation Association for India (BAAI), Karan Singh, who commented, “There’s limited parking, and the airlines always get priority, especially at Bombay and Delhi. Ground handling is provided by state-owned companies that have been known to charge $1,500 for a bus to transfer passengers from the ramp to the terminal.”
On a more positive note, there are signs of the rigidity of these attitudes changing, as more Asian Companies take the step of using business and private jet travel, raising awareness of the need for greater infrastructure in this sector.
“The mindset is changing now that Indian companies regard business jets as tools, rather than toys,” Singh noted.
There is a long way to go yet, as tax implications for jet purchasers is still high, and, while Asia moves towards business aviation, and the expectation for growth is encouraging, there are still hurdles to jump, not only in terms of infrastructure and regulation, but also in attitude.
Leslie Merszei, managing director of Orient Sky, a Bangkok-based broker said, “There are too many clients and too little inventory. Most business jets in the region are not available for charter,” adding that according to many Asian beliefs, outsiders can bring ‘bad luck’ if they charter their aircraft.
Orient Sky do not share this belief, with their plans to market around a dozen business jet aircraft later this year.
Although Asian business aviation is far from the models presented by Europe and the US, experts predict the fast-growing industry could double, due to the rise in corporate and indeed person wealth increases continent-wide.