Asian Nations Press Aviation Reform
The transportation departments of the 21 countries in Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum have agreed on a common set of goals to facilitate the development of business aviation in the region. China Daily USA reported APEC met in Tokyo last week and the business aviation initiative was one of the key announcements. Essentially, the countries agreed that business aviation operations are non-commercial, which should make it easier for them to move around the region, but China is the primary focus of attention. "The upswing in business activity in the region has increased the demand for prompt, reliable access to business destinations throughout China and across the Asian region," NBAA President Ed Bolen said at a news conference.
Bolen noted the accord is a guideline and not a regulation but it's progress, nonetheless, in an area where there could be a huge market for business aircraft. Bolen said there are now about 300 business jets in China but their freedom to fly is still severely restricted by the country's onerous airspace controls. China has pledged to ease those restrictions but they can't come soon enough for those involved in the industry. The rules are preventing many people who could otherwise afford a business jet from buying one, said Wu Jingkui, chairman of the Asia Business Aviation Association. "In the process of introducing private jets or during the flights, operators have to pay high tariffs and are faced with other barriers such as additional costs," said Wu.