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Reverse Trade Seminar Seeks to Advance Business Aviation in Asia

October 31, 2012

Asia-Pacific has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and business aviation is playing a key role in the economic growth of the Pacific Rim. However, challenges to doing business in the region remain. That’s why approximately 100 people attended a business briefing titled "U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Business Aviation Briefing," which was held in Orlando, FL on Monday, the day before the opening of NBAA’s Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2012).

Attendees came to find out what is required to certificate and operate business aircraft in key Asian countries and learn how they could work with aviation officials in the region to relax airspace and airport access restrictions and encourage the building of fixed base operators and other infrastructure to support business aviation.

Agency Works to Improve Infrastructure

The workshop – which was presented by the U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA), organized by the American Association of Airport Executives and supported by NBAA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Gulfstream and the Department of Transportation – was part of a series of three USTDA events (the other two to be held in Savannah, GA and Washington, DC, respectively) designed to foster a dialog between U.S. operators and manufacturers and high-level delegations from Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Henry Steingass, USTDA’s regional director South and Southeast Asia, kicked off the session by detailing the extensive efforts his agency has made to promote aviation and overcome challenges to business aircraft travel in Asia, which include congestion at major airports, a dearth of secondary airports and a lack of immigration customs facilities at many airports. Besides promoting infrastructure development, the agency is trying to help develop a “network of compatible regulatory frameworks for operations” in the region that will promote safety efficiency and best practices.

Initiatives Underway for Greater Access

Officials from six Asian nations provided overviews of the state of aviation regulation in their countries, all of which are experiencing substantial growth in traffic. They also detailed their certification processes and initiatives designed to improve business aviation access, and train aviation personnel and build the infrastructure needed to support growth.

For example, Akira Takano, the deputy director of the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau’s Aviation Strategy Division, described a series of steps that have been taken to improve access at Tokyo-area airports, Narita and Haneda. The number of landing and takeoff slots has increased, maximum parking periods for business aircraft have been extended, and turnaround times for approvals have been reduced. He concluded his presentation by saying, “please come to Japan by business aviation.”

Bringing U.S. Companies and Foreign Regulators Together

Following the formal country briefings, representatives from U.S. companies met with country delegates one-on-one to present their technologies and services.

“One of the things this mission is designed to do is bring U.S. operators and foreign regulators together to understand what’s required to really do business in that part of the world,” said Doug Carr, NBAA vice president, safety, security, operations & regulation. The one-on-one conversations “will hopefully spark discussions for regulatory improvements for business aviation.”

“Asia, like much of the rest of the world, presents its own unique operating challenges,” Carr continued. “This really was an opportunity for a great exchange of information between companies interested in doing business and traveling throughout Asia and regulators who need to understand why business aviation is so unique. For them, it was a chance to understand how business aviation has contributed so greatly to the success of the American economy so they can determine what elements they can best import and adopt within their own regulatory structures.”

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