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Beyond Expectations

The industry continues to see opportunities in the region, as illustrated in part by the introduction of two aircraft models displayed for the first time in China

Issue: 04-2017By R. ChandrakanthPhoto(s): By Gulfstream, Embraer, Honda Jet, Dassault Aviation
GULFSTREAM’S CLASS-LEADING TRIO: Super-midsize G280 (Shown here), high-performance G550 and the company flagship G650ER caught the attention of visitors at ABACE

The sixth edition of the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) held at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport from April 11 to 13, 2017 is said to have been the strongest to date. The event is organised by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Shanghai Airport Authority (SAA), co-hosted by the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA).

“ABACE 2017 appears to have met or exceeded expectations,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “The industry continues to see opportunities in the region, as illustrated in part by the introduction of two aircraft models displayed for the first time in China. We were also pleased with the strong support for general aviation by government leaders here. Clearly, there continues to be enormous potential for business aviation in China and across Asia.”

180 Exhibitors and More

Bolen pointed to other examples illustrating the show’s success including number of exhibitors and aircraft on display. ABACE had over 180 exhibitors and the show’s floor footprint this year was the largest ever. About 40 per cent of ABACE exhibitors were based in Asia and over 40 countries were represented, demonstrating the show’s international representation. It featured 33 aircraft on display, including the full spectrum of business aircraft from pistons through to intercontinental jets, including an air-ambulance aircraft and helicopters. ABACE also featured for the first time a solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

Top national and international officials were the keynote speakers for the opening general session and they included Jiang Huaiyu, Director General of the Eastern Regional Headquarters for the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC); Geoff Jackson, Executive Director for the USChina Aviation Cooperation Programme; Hanscom Smith, Consul General of the United States Consulate General in Shanghai; Axel Cruau, the French Consul General in Shanghai; Stephen Creamer, Director of the Air Navigation Bureau at the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and Jing Yiming, SAA President.

Jiang Huaiyu mentioned that ABACE had been successfully held in Shanghai for the past five years, serving as an international communications platform for business aviation in China and across Asia. With China’s reform and opening up, as well as the continued economic development, the number and scale of business aviation companies and the number of business aviation flights have seen an annual increase of 20 per cent.


The advantages of business aviation in the process of developing general aviation can be observed in the personalised, multi-level and popular purchasing trends. Furthermore, Feng Zhenglin, Director of the CAAC, emphasised during the sessions, that the country is promoting the development of civil aviation with the intention to encourage the economic development in the region. General aviation has become a crucial component in the development of China’s civil aviation industry.

“SAA values and is continuously paying attention to the development of business aviation in Shanghai. The second business aviation base at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport has begun construction and is expected to operate in 2018. Preliminary research on the Pudong Airport business aviation base project has also been carried out,” he said. “With the support from the government, SAA is putting great effort into facilitating the development of business aviation, with a goal to make Shanghai the business aviation centre of north-east Asia and a qualified outstanding global city and to contribute to the nation’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy.”

As in the past, ABACE provided a number of educational offerings, including sessions examining the ongoing evolution of unmanned aircraft systems; humanitarian uses for rotorcraft including for medical transportation and emergency response; special considerations for financing new and used aircraft; promoting a robust safety culture in business aviation flight operations and the impact on business aviation operations following the recent implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Open Skies Agreement.

Bolen concluded: “Over the past five years, ABACE has grown to become a must-attend event not only for industry stakeholders in China and throughout Asia but also for the worldwide business aviation community. We thank our exhibitors, attendees and sponsors and we look forward to returning to Shanghai for the 2018 edition of ABACE.”

Business aviation is playing an important role in propelling China’s economy and should be fostered both at a local and national level, a top Chinese aviation authority told ABACE attendees at today’s opening general session. Jiang Huaiyu, the Director General of the Eastern regional headquarters for the CAAC, noted that to maintain a strong economic growth rate, “We need to provide diversified aviation services.” Business and general aviation are key players in those diversified services. The Chinese Government is taking steps to encourage the industry’s growth, developing a national strategy for general aviation. He noted that to continue that growth, officials must educate about the benefits of the industry and develop policies that support that effort.

HondaJet Debut

The first-ever Chinese appearance of the fast and fuel-efficient HondaJet light business jet was at ABACE. “We are honoured that Honda has chosen ABACE as the venue for the introduction of this innovative jet to the Chinese market and we welcome their participation and support for this year’s event,” said Mike Nichols, CAM, Vice President, Operational Excellence and Professional Development for NBAA. The HondaJet was among a wide range of diverse business aircraft that were on display throughout ABACE 2017, including single and twin pistonengine aircraft, single and twin-engine turboprop aircraft, piston and turbine rotorcraft and turbine aircraft ranging from light jets to large-cabin intercontinental aircraft.

HondaJet made its debut at ABACE 2017

Dassault’s Falcon 8X

This year, Dassault Aviation once again featured the newest business jet in the ultra-long range class: Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 8X. The 8X appeared alongside the popular 4,000 nm Falcon 2000LX/EX. A state-of-the-art Falcon 2000LX Medevac aircraft operated by the Beijing Red Cross Emergency Medical Centre was also displayed. Since entering into service last year, the 6,450 nm Falcon 8X has been delivered to operators in key markets around the world, including the United States, Europe, the Middle East and India. The first China-based aircraft will be handed over in the coming weeks. “The Falcon 8X offers the range and performance to connect our Chinese customers with business hubs throughout Europe, North America and Africa, which is of primary importance here,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. “And the feedback on our new flagship has been universally positive especially, cabin noise levels, which make it the quietest aircraft in its class.”

Ultra-long range class Falcon 8X

Embraer Predicts Stable Market

Guan Dongyuan, President of Embraer China, said Embraer delivered one Legacy 500 and two Phenom 300s. Embraer sees the Chinese market as full of potential and predicts that the Chinese executive aviation market will grow at a stable pace in the coming years. Guan said that the Legacy 500 was the first to a Chinese customer and added that in September 2016, Embraer delivered to Colorful Yunnan General Aviation two light Phenom 300s. Guan said the market had huge potential for Embraer “considering the economic volume, the great consumption of power, the HNWI (high net worth individual) numbers, etc.

EMBRAER PHENOM 300: First Delivery to China

Bombardier Global 7000

Bombardier’s new flagship, the large cabin, high-speed ultralong range Global 7000, will be key to its future success in Greater China and Asia-Pacific. The newest member of the Global family has already won orders from customers in the region, says Brad Nolan, Product Strategy Director at Bombardier Business Aircraft, even though the $72.8-million aircraft will not enter service until the second half of next year. “The Global 7000 is a top priority for us,” he says.

Gulfstream Trio Connections

Gulfstream’s class-leading trio — super-midsize G280; highperformance G550 and company flagship G650ER — caught the attention of visitors at ABACE. “We’re exhibiting three outstanding Gulfstream aircraft well suited for missions connecting the Asia-Pacific region to the world’s financial and industrial hubs,” said Scott Neal, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Gulfstream. “With over 300 aircraft in service in Asia-Pacific, over 100 of these in China alone, we are more dedicated than ever to supporting our customers in the region.”

Innovation by Textron

Textron Aviation displayed its leading Cessna Citation XLS+ light midsize business jet and Cessna Grand Caravan EX turboprop this year. It also highlighted its new family of large-cabin business jets — the midsize Cessna Citation Latitude, supermidsize Cessna Citation Longitude and large-cabin Cessna Citation Hemisphere which bring a broad range of capabilities and class-leading features to the market.

“ABACE is a great opportunity to showcase our class-leading platforms in region and introduce our customers to the innovations we are bringing to market,” said Bill Schultz, Senior Vice President, Business Development, China. “The Citation Latitude has quickly become the best-selling midsize business jet since it entered the market less than two years ago and we believe this aircraft is going to be a great fit for the region with its imminent certification in China.”