During last week’s National Business Aviation Association’s 65th Annual Convention and Exhibition, an international theme caught my attention. On Monday October 29, I attended the Asia-Pacific Business Aviation Access Business Briefing. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) hosted a delegation of high-ranking aviation officials from six Asia-Pacific countries. These representatives provided an update on aviation in their respective countries. The session also provided the chance to discuss how U.S.-based business aviation companies and individuals may access the aviation industry in these countries.
Many of the challenges these countries face with an emerging general and business aviation industry were similar. Summarized, many spoke about the dynamic growth taking place overtaking the investment into infrastructure, lack of a robust customs and immigration function to support general aviation activities, airport and airspace congestion, and a lack of regulatory, safety, and education policies to support emerging general aviation activity.
The China Civil Aviation Report hosted delegates from China and presented information on airport and aviation growth primarily in western China. One telling statistic was in China today there are 178 airports in 175 cities. Airport construction is growing at an extremely rapid pace with a target of having 230 airports in the year 2015. A parting comment made was, the aviation market in China is isolated and needs international involvement. Granted we’re talking about the other side of the world, but the message I came away with was there’s opportunity for those businesses interested in supporting aviation in these emerging regions.