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The 2013 ‘Greater China Business Jet Fleet Report’ by Hong Kong-based Asian Sky Group (ASG) asks ‘Is China Slowing Down?’, and ‘Is it [the market] Over Hyped?’ More aircraft are arriving there, but at a slowing rate, while increasing numbers are exported from the registers of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. So from the report, the Greater China market is slowing.

AvBuyer   |   31st January 2014
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The 2013 ‘Greater China Business Jet Fleet Report’ by Hong Kong-based Asian Sky Group (ASG) asks ‘Is China Slowing Down?’, and ‘Is it [the market] Over Hyped?’ More aircraft are arriving there, but at a slowing rate, while increasing numbers are exported from the registers of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. So from the report, the Greater China market is slowing.

In the first half of 2013 there were just 37 deliveries including seven pre-owned aircraft with the traditional frontrunners’ (Gulfstream and Bombardier) market share remaining roughly the same. Market gains were made by Dassault and Embraer while Cessna and Hawker models decreased. Deliveries by the end of 2013 were expected to reach a total of 106 aircraft with 68 arriving in the second half of the year. Of these, 31 aircraft were pre-owned (a growing trend that doesn’t now attract the stigma it used to).

The total fleet has grown from 240 aircraft in 2011, to 305 in 2012, to 366 at the end of 2013. In percentage terms that’s +27% between 2011/2012 and +20% between 2012/2013. The report suggests the slow-down is potentially caused by a cooling Chinese economy which is affecting certain industry segments; central Government austerity measures; a shift in business focus to domestic organic growth; longer decision making processes; and more educated buyers.

Of the 366 Greater China jet fleet the report reveals that 321 are China-registered, while Hong Kong has 13 and Taiwan and Macau 12 and 10 respectively. Gulfstream holds the largest market share with 140 aircraft; Bombardier, 112; Dassault, 30; Cessna, 28; Hawker, 19; Embraer, 16; Airbus, 15; and Boeing, 6. The top five Greater China business jet operators by aircraft fleet size, meanwhile, are - HNA Group (including Deer Jet), 66; BAA, 44; TAG Aviation Asia, 34; Metrojet, 31; Jet Aviation Business Jet (HK), 23.

Industry News
As regards industry news, Bombardier Aerospace and the Tianjin Airport Economic Area have signed a letter of agreement to increase aircraft maintenance services in Mainland China. The agreement is a first step toward the creation of a joint venture, which is intended to result in the construction of a maintenance facility in 2016 supporting the MRO, and associated activities and services for all Bombardier business aircraft.

Zurich headquartered ExecuJet, meanwhile, is already based at Tianjin. The joint venture MRO company ExecuJet Haite Aviation Services China was due to become fully operational by the end of February. The company has 20 personnel in place and was straining at the leash to get started on full business jet base maintenance after a frustrating few months waiting for final approval from the CAAC.

ExecuJet’s purpose built facility is an authorized service center for both Bombardier and Embraer business jets and despite the last minute hassle ExecuJet Haiti has been very busy with AOG work from both OEMs, according to Graeme Duckworth, ExecuJet MD, Asia. “At the moment although we have our full Chinese maintenance license we have been mainly working on visiting aircraft. Obviously when we’re fully up and running we do intend to maintain a lot of Chinese aircraft as well.”

At the Singapore Air Show there was plenty of Business Aviation activity but not much in the way of General Aviation aircraft sales announcements. A couple of exceptions were AgustaWestland (selling another ten AW139 helicopters to Malaysia’s Westar), and Sydney-based Hawker Pacific Pty which signed a multi-aircraft, multi-year MoU with Bell Helicopter for various models, based on anticipated market growth.

Hawker Pacific also signed a deal with Embraer Executive Jets to provide full maintenance support for Legacy 500 and Legacy 450 customers in the Asia-Pacific region. The Legacy 500 is due to enter service in the first half of 2014 with Legacy 450 certification due a year later. Hawker Pacific is now certified to provide maintenance support to all Embraer Executive Jets, from the Phenom 100 to the new Lineage 1000E.

Business aviation is “hopping” at Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park according to Gary Dolski, Jet Aviation’s vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific. The much publicized Jet Aviation $25 million mega-hangar MRO/FBO complex will be fully operational by April says Dolski. Because of the success of the Seletar Aerospace Park, there are worries that the pool of locally-trained technicians will fast dry up - and to avoid this Jet Aviation Singapore is collaborating with Air Transport Training College (ATTC) Seletar to train up more local talent on a joint Licensed Aircraft Engineer Training Program.

As part of the deal, Jet Aviation has transferred ownership of a Falcon 20 business jet to ATTC for hands-on training. Jet Aviation will provide required on-the-job training opportunities to students enrolled on the course.

Just across the runway, Bombardier commenced its wholly-owned and operated MRO airframe heavy maintenance operations here last September. It has a 32,000 sq ft hangar and 15,000 sq ft of office space. Initially it will offer servicing for Global Express, Learjet 75 and Challenger series aircraft. In February it was announced that the facility is to become the Asian home of Canada-based Flying Colours Corp. At Seletar, Flying Colours will offer full-service interior refurbishment capabilities on site to all Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets.

Flying Colours had been looking for an Asian base for a couple of years. “…when the opportunity presented itself with Bombardier at Seletar it was a quick answer, especially considering our relationships on other projects,” Sean Gillespie, Flying Colours executive VP sales and marketing said. “It diversifies our relationship with Bombardier, provides us with an Asian base of operation, and also gives us access to customers we might not have had previously...”

Flying Colours also became the first Canadian MRO to receive complete airframe and specialized service CCAR 145 MOC, (China Civil Aviation Regulations 145 Maintenance Organization Certificate), approval from the CAAC, enabling Flying Colours to conduct full airframe inspections, repairs and scheduled maintenance, along with specialized services including sheet metal work, composite repairs, paintwork, interior completions and modifications on Chinese registered aircraft.

Bell Helicopter at Seletar has received approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to perform maintenance and customization on Bell 206 series, Bell 407 series and Bell 429 aircraft under the certification of Transport Canada Civil Aviation. With this qualification the company can now perform customization work on all in-production Bell Helicopter aircraft, and ST Aerospace officially opened its new $26.6m aviation centre at Seletar Aerospace Park in early February.

Dassault Falcon Jet is enthusiastic about prospects for its business jet range in the region. “We’re looking at Southeast Asia - in particular countries like Indonesia—as emerging growth countries for Business Aviation,” said John Rosanvallon, President and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet. The company anticipates delivering its first Falcon - a 2000LXS - to an Indonesian customer later this year.

Indonesian Aerospace (Aae), meanwhile, is to build a rugged 19-seat twin turboprop (PT6A-42 powered) dubbed the N219 to compete with the Viking Twin Otter and the Harbin Y-12F. The company plans to fly the first prototype in 2015. According to reports the program is now fully-financed with development costs expected to be around $80 million. The company hopes to improve on the performance of the Twin Otter and will offer increased cabin height and three-abreast seating.

Over in Bali, ExecuJet’s FBO opened for business in temporary accommodation at the International Airport in October giving the company exclusive rights to run the General Aviation Terminal there. P.T. ExecuJet Indonesia – the joint venture between ExecuJet Aviation Group and majority owner P.T. Dimitri Utama Abadi – is preparing to move from the temporary General Aviation terminal to a new facility in the next two months.

The new GA terminal has a purpose-built adjacent apron designed to handle all General Aviation and business aircraft up to narrow-body airliners. It will be the first terminal to be opened under a Memorandum of Cooperation signed in June 2012 for ExecuJet to exclusively design, construct and manage GA terminals at up to 13 airports managed by state-owned Indonesian aviation company Angkasa Pura I.

“At the moment we are concentrating on Bali, but have looked at a second possible site already,” concluded ExecuJet’s Duckworth. “We are still evaluating whether we will take up the option for the other airports as our business requires high General Aviation movements and some of these [airports] are too low [in movements] to warrant the investment that will be required.”

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