Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport through 202.The National Business Aviation Association and the Shanghai Airport Authority ( SAA ) are extending their partnership for five more years, firmly planting the Aviation Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition at
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and SAA Vice President Wang Jijie formally signed the extension during ABACE2014, following up on the first five-year agreement signed in June 2011.
The signing comes as the 2014 ABACE topped the success of 2013, when attendance grew by 30% and set records in terms of exhibitors and static display. Attendance in 2014 “exceeded expectations,” the National Business Aviation Association says, while the 187 exhibitors was 20% up over the 156 a year earlier and the 333 booth spaces marked a 41% increase. Meanwhile, manufacturer chalets are becoming more prevalent, up 78%, and the 38 aircraft on display –including pistons for the first time – exceeded last year’s event. Importantly, Bolen says the number of companies from the Asian-Pacific region has doubled since the ABACE returned in 2012.
“We have come a long way from our signing ceremony in 2011,” Bolen says. “When we launched the first ABACE in 2012, we said we wanted the show to become not just an annual event, but an enduring event .” He adds the response underscores that ABACE is making its mark on business aviation.
The show ’s growth comes as the potential of the market is beginning to be realized. “As business centers like Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Seoul are taking their place alongside traditional business destinations like New York, London and Montreal, aviation will remain key to bringing people face to face,” he says.
Changing policies are also beginning to help foster growth, including the recent easing of approval requirements for a number of China-based general aviation operators. “That and other decisions reflect a pledge by Chinese officials to reform the country ’s airspace management system and support the industry ’s growth.”
These policy developments, Bolen adds, reflect a “well-understood reality ”that growth in business aviation means growth in jobs, the region ’s economy and opportunities for companies.
Chinese and other Asian leaders who spoke at the three-day event all backed that contention, noting the importance of business aviation to the economic development of their industries. Wang Zhiqing , deputy administrator of the Civil Aviation Administrator of China (), stressed that the government believes it must take steps to foster growth in the industry. He noted that business aviation was long viewed as a luxury, but there should be an educational effort that “a business aircraft is a transportation tool... it is efficient.”