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A profile on Shanghai FBO

A comprehensive world-class Business Aviation support facility for the Business Aviation community in China opened last year at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport. The all-new FBO (Fixed Base Operator) facility was officially opened on March 26th 2010 and branded the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Center.

Mike Vines   |   1st April 2011
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New joint venture begins to prove a success

A comprehensive world-class Business Aviation support facility for the Business Aviation community in China opened last year at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport. The all-new FBO (Fixed Base Operator) facility was officially opened on March 26th 2010 and branded the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Center.

Hawker Pacific - with its headquarters in Sydney was chosen to partner the operation- and has a long and trusted association with China- and experience in running similar operations in Australia and the Pacific-Rim.

The new specialist private Business Aviation terminal- which resulted from an inspired idea by the Shanghai Airport Authority and the vision of the Shanghai Government- is positioned well away from the congested airliner terminals.

The idea of operating a joint-venture FBO and business jet maintenance operation at Shanghai shows a high degree of forward-thinking by all concerned.

The vision is to provide exceptional Business Aviation facilities for both domestic and international business jet operators. Hongqiao International Airport was selected because of its proximity to Shanghai’s central business district just 13 kilometers away. Depending on traffic and the time of day- the journey from business district to FBO can take as little as 20–30 minutes.

The FBO provides VIP lounge and meeting room facilities- and ground aircraft- and passenger-handling services. Soon to be added will be a business jet maintenance center- aircraft charter and aircraft management affiliates.

The facility is open 24 hours per day- seven days a week. It has on-site customs and immigration as well as quarantine clearance facilities- and it offers luxury ground transportation for passengers and aircrew- and can arrange local accommodation and catering for all palates- and secure vehicle parking.

Hongqiao - Shanghai’s original International Airport - has a 3-400 meter runway capable of handling any size aircraft. It still has extensive domestic airline activity combined with some scheduled international airline flights- but the objective is to eventually make it China’s first dedicated Business Aviation airport.

Exceeding Expectations

The Shanghai FBO joint venture is starting to prove a success- confirms Alan Smith- CEO of Hawker Pacific. “Aircraft movements are exceeding our original business plan forecast and the mix of traffic is roughly 50% domestic and 50% international.”

The business plan originally forecast that the operation would become profitable after three to four years- but because of increased aircraft movements this is now expected to occur earlier. “The facility really has started to produce the sort of growth that we anticipated- and I think that this represents a general snapshot of current Business Aviation in China-” adds Mr. Smith.

“Our MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) activity at the facility hasn’t officially started- but we’re quite a long way towards approval by the CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China). We’ve already recruited engineers- and once approved we will be a Hawker Beechcraft Authorized Service Center and Dassault Falcon Jet approved. We are also in discussion with other aircraft manufacturers to support their products in China.”

A brand new 4000-square-meter hangar has been built adjacent to the FBO for the MRO and hangarage. “Currently we support AOG (Aircraft on Ground and unserviceable) situations using mobile repair teams from our other operations in Asia that hold CAAC approvals.”

Aircraft spare parts support is primarily provided by the aircraft manufacturers- either directly or through third-party logistics suppliers. Once the MRO operation is fully functioning- it will obviously necessitate holding a level of spares support- according to one anonymous company spokesperson. Fuel is available through approved suppliers- and FBO personnel assist in arranging this when required.

Increasingly Important

“Business Aviation is becoming increasingly important in China- both for domestic and international clients-” the anonymous spokesperson emphasized. “The Shanghai Hawker Pacific FBO provides services to the highest international standards of customer service and safety.

“Business Aviation is all about efficiency – our facilities and services are totally aligned with these requirements. Both Beijing and Shanghai air traffic control are supportive of the importance of Hongqiao as the Business Aviation centre and its importance to the continued growth of Shanghai as a financial and commercial centre.”

Designed to handle up to ten flights simultaneously- the FBO is priced competitively within the region. Approximately 60 aircraft parking slots are available adjacent to the FBO- with temporary and permanent hangarage also available. (Hangarage availability is regarded as a very important asset by business jet owners and operators- particularly in the winter months when storms and other adverse weather threaten to damage the aircraft).

Pudong Business Aviation Support

The FBO also supports Business Aviation customers at Pudong International Airport (Shanghai’s new International Airport) as part of its overall mandate. According to local reports Hongqiao and Pudong International Airports exceed 2-000 jets handled each year and the forecast is for this number to increase 10 percent to 15 percent annually.

The opening last March was planned to coincide with the May opening of the Shanghai World Expo- the longest-running exposition in the world last year. This naturally led to the FBO’s busiest period so far - testing its personnel to their limit in maintaining its benchmark of very high standards.

Business jet bookings were strong even before the event with the joint venture claiming- “The World Expo was a huge success for Shanghai and attracted increased aircraft traffic which definitely benefited the FBO”.

This year- SIBAS is being held at Shanghai Hawker Pacific’s Business Aviation Service Center- so delegates can see first hand what the FBO has to offer- and speak to the people who make it happen. The joint venture partners outline that because Business Aviation is the prime purpose of the facility- any show that promotes the importance and growth of Business Aviation is very welcome.

For more information visit www.fboshanghai.com

What is an FBO? 

FBO means Fixed Base Operator- and is a term only used in connection with Business Aviation. It is ultimately a private passenger terminal exclusively for the use of business jet travelers- and usually a stand-alone building well away from the busy and burdensome environment of the main airport terminals. Many FBOs also offer aircraft maintenance and cleaning services.

An FBO has VIP lounges- meeting rooms- internet access- a TV area and food available - and limousines- taxis or car rental can be arranged. Aircraft refueling can also be arranged as can office or hangar rentals.

A separate area for flight crews gives them access to flight planning and weather information (either via computer or telephone)- crew rest-lounges and shower facilities. Crew sleeping facilities are often available at the larger FBOs.

In short- an FBO is the business jet traveler’s home while away from home- and offers invaluable support to crews. They are designed to make your journey run as smoothly as possible.

Read more about: Business Aviation in China | FBOs

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