New York, New York – Reported by Mike Espindle for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
The ABACE conference reboots in Shanghai, Airbus goes big in Japan and Metrojet welcomes its first Embraer to the fleet in this issue’s business jet update.
Last held in Hong Kong in 2008, the new-and-improved ABACE (Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition), held in Shanghai in spring 2012, was a resounding success by all reports. Perhaps the most significant news to come out of the show was the formation of the new China Business Jet Shanghai Alliance by leading aircraft financial firm Minsheng Financial Leasing Co. The new initiative is led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and is the first official industry organization in the People’s Republic to connect major business aircraft manufacturers with big Chinese operators like Capital Airlines, China Eastern, Donghai Jet, Nanshan Jet, Zhuhai Helicopter and First Mandarin Business Aviation. The show itself featured over 150 exhibitors in 43,000 square feet of floor space at the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Centre at Hongqiao Airport. In addition, about 27 aircraft were on display in the static area, and the entire event was sold out two months ahead of its opening.
Airbus’s Japanese Success
An undisclosed private customer placed an order for Airbus’s first ACJ product in Japan. While further details on the deal for an ACJ318 large-airframe jet were not provided, COO-Customers John Leahy commented: “Our first Airbus corporate jet sale in Japan builds on the growing presence of our modern airliner family, as well as encouraging greater use of business jets to help grow what is, today, the world’s third-largest economy. Cabin comfort and space are key in our business, and Airbus corporate jets offer more of this than any other business jet.” Airbus has logged 170 business jet orders since the ACJ concept was introduced about 20 years ago.
Metrojet Expands Fleet with Embraer
An Embraer Legacy 650 has been added to the fleet of Hong Kong-based private jet operator Metrojet. With a managed fleet size nearing 30, Metrojet CEO Björn Näf was bullish on the Asian bizjet market after the delivery: “It is an exciting time for the business aviation industry as we are seeing a lot of activities across the Asia region. After becoming Embraer’s first authorized service center in Greater China, we are now managing our first Embraer aircraft. I am confident that we will continue to welcome more Embraer aircraft to our fleet. We look forward to a long-term partnership with Embraer and are committed to delivering service and operational excellence to all our customers.”
Gulfstream’s Appleton Facility Gets CAAC Approval
Gulfstream’s aviation service center in Appleton, Wisconsin recently earned an approved maintenance organization (AMO) designation from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). With this clearance, aircraft registered with the CAAC can undergo maintenance, repairs, alterations and inspections at the facility. “Foreign authorizations are important to our customers, particularly from countries such as China where our fleet has grown from zero to more than 40 in about 11 years,” said Gulfstream Product Support President Mark Burns. “Chinese operators who are in the United States for business or leisure can now have their aircraft serviced [with us] on the East Coast, West Coast and Midwest.” Appleton is the third company-owned service center to earn AMO approval from the CAAC, joining facilities in Savannah, Georgia and Long Beach, California.