The conference was an opportunity for those in the GA sector to discover the latest developments since the announcement of the change in regulations regarding Single Engine Turboprop operations in Europe by EASA in March 2017.
Delegates heard from some of the top administrators within Europe how these changes would impact the GA industry and what advantages these new changes could bring in the future, with separate events covering various aspects ranging from operations to finance.
Those attending the 2017 event included James Dillon-Godfrey, Head of Business Development, London Oxford Airport; Kyle Martin, Director of Regulatory Affairs, GAMA; Brandon Mitchener, Chief Executive Officer, EBAA; Richard Koe, Managing Director, WingX Advance; and Barry Chapman, Chief Executive Officer, EMEA, BizjetMobile Europe (among many others).
Opportunity and Caution
It’s believed that Single-Engine Turboprops provide a great opportunity for the industry as a whole, and an exciting opportunity for the GA sector in particular to expand its footprint and find new markets for both manufacturers and service providers. The size of aircraft operating in the sector could open up thousands of new airfields and routes for aircraft operators and bring new opportunity for growth in the GA sector across Europe and beyond.
There will be a requirement to upgrade airport facilities, ensuring all runways are all-weather (wherever possible) and that the appropriate landing equipment and fire cover is on site, as well as ensuring that the appropriate ground connections are also available both prior to, and after landing for clients.
It was also felt that it would be good pipeline for new pilots to both join the industry and gain sufficient experience prior to embarking on a career flying larger aircraft.
However, there was also a cautionary side to the discussion as it is felt that Europe is at least 20 years behind other parts of the world in this area, especially the US, and that there is a difference in perception of GA as a whole within Europe and the US.
One issue that came through loud and clear was the lack of airframes available at the moment, although others are currently in the pipeline.
However, one of the main complaints that both aircraft operators and OEMs receive concerns the lack of certified aircraft simulators available within Europe, a point which was keenly discussed in the Q and A session.
Another point that was discussed with some verve was that of aircraft financing which saw entrepreneurs clash with those from the finance sector over who should be helping business start-ups within the GA industry and where the money should come from for the overall good of the industry.
It was felt that this would help the industry in two ways, firstly by generating sales for the OEMs, and secondly by increasing the available options for startup companies to select an aircraft to best suit their needs and business model (be that charter, air taxi or other type of subscription-based model).