The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE 2011) held in Geneva, Switzerland, had good attendance and the figures were up from 2010 to nearly 12,751, from 108 countries, with more than 500 exhibitors, and 62 aircraft on static display.
One session I attended was the global business aviation update presented by panelists from the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). Host Brian Humphries of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) explained an issue now is the UK has imposed a 20 percent value added tax (VAT) on all aircraft. Formerly, this was applied when flying in the UK and was based off the maximum take-off weight (MTOW). With budgets tight and fuel costs rising, the impact of this VAT is much greater than anticipated.
Doug Carr, representing the NBAA, summed up the U.S. business aviation situation by hitting on the fact that a major holdup is the 19th extension of the FAA reauthorization (big surprise). Carr also touched on SMS programs and the importance of future SMS data protection.
Francisco Lyra of the Brazilian Association of General Aviation (ABAG) explained that Brazil’s biz aircraft fleet has grown 21 percent over the last year and are mainly piston aircraft. Of Brazil’s 5,000+ cities, only 124 have commercial service! Regular maintenance of Brazilian registered aircraft is often sent to Europe or the United States.
Ali Al Naqbi represented the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBA) and he spoke about the rise of high net worth individuals due to the 1990’s oil boom and how that created a market of private family travel. The Middle East has about 450 biz aircraft today and growing. This trend will likely continue with forecasted growth of 1,330 registered biz aircraft expected by the year 2019.
Leonid Koshelev, chairman of the Russian United Business Aviation Association (RUBAA), spoke about the government being against monopolies in airports and pushing for more affordable use of airports. When reviewing the business aircraft activity in Russia, Koshelev said it has come back to levels seen before the global financial crisis.
Capt. Karan Singh, vice president of the Business Aviation Association of India (BAAI), spoke about the booming business aviation market as well as the economy (sixth largest world economy by 2020) in India. Its business aircraft fleet has doubled in size since 2006; in 2009 India experienced 10 percent biz aviation growth, and it expects to triple its fleet by 2020. Some challenges in India: currently it takes at least nine months to get an aircraft operator permit in India, a 40 to 50 percent fuel tax, and limited ground handling options. India has less than 150 airports, FBOs are nonexistent, and training is a growing problem.
Business aviation in Japan is starting to develop more according to representative Kazunobu Sato of the Japan Business Aviation Association (JBAA). The Japanese government has been reluctant to develop biz aviation and therefore has extremely restrictive regulations. Deregulation and improvement of Tokyo International Airport as well as Narita International Airport are underway. Japan has 98 airports, all with extremely limited general aviation landing spots and this will be changing as local governments are becoming much more supportive of business aviation.
Challenges exist but the global business aviation market looks positive.
Thanks for reading! Jon Jezo