Region VII: Middle East/Asia (MID)

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NBAA Advises Japanese Officials on Business Aviation Improvements

October 2, 2012

A delegation of 16 Japanese officials spent the morning of Sept. 28 at NBAA headquarters learning about infrastructure, policy and regulatory components that make business aviation successful in the United States, and could help foster the industry’s continued growth in Japan.

Their mission, according to Doug Carr, NBAA’s Vice President of Safety, Security, Operations & Regulation, was to discern what aspects of these components they could implement to better serve business aviation as part of the Narita city government’s oversight of Narita International Airport.

The Japanese recognize business aviation as a critical connection to the global economic network that attracts local investment and development, but unlike the United States, Japan does not have a geographic array of primary and reliever airports, Carr said, resulting in many airports operating close to capacity.

Building more runways is one option, but this is a geographic, financial and political challenge in the densely populated island nation. The other, more practical solution, is to better utilize the existing infrastructure.

“We’ve seen great progress on the issues we’ve discussed with Japanese officials,” said Carr, referring to previous meetings. For example, it wasn’t long ago that business aircraft operators needed to request a landing permit at least 10 days in advance, and the resulting slot, issued for landing at either Tokyo-area airport, Narita International (RJAA) or Haneda Airport (RJTT), was between midnight and dawn. Today, the landing lead time is three days, he continued, but everyone involved is working to reduce it further “because business often can’t wait three days.”

In March 2012, Narita International opened its executive terminal, which Carr compared to an American FBO, a “one-stop shop for everything from fuel and flight planning to customs and catering and associated services.” Before the facility was available, business operators had to arrange for these services with separate providers and local airlines.

At airports without the appropriate facilities, business aircraft operators can experience an unpredictable array of parking requirements, service coordination and entry-and-exit processing, which can create any number of safety, service and security issues, because the airport is not equipped for the aircraft businesses fly, Carr explained. That might include moving the airplane to a “remote parking spot, next to a fence with no lights.”

Integrating business aviation into an infrastructure designed for the scheduled airlines is an ongoing process, Carr said. Building on the improvements already made, he said, “We look forward to working with the Japanese – or any other nation – to help them identify opportunities for continued improvements.”