New hangar as aviation show opens
A new hangar for business jets has been completed at Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai to meet the rising demand of China’s booming general aviation industry.
The new hangar stands alongside one the same size that together will allow a total of eight medium-size business jets, such as the Gulfstream 550, to berth simultaneously, Lu Xun, an official with Shanghai Airport Authority told a press conference ahead of the 2018 Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition that opens today.
The hangar, an expansion of the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Aviation Service Center that was unveiled at the Hongqiao airport in 2010, made its debut at the annual exhibition as part of the indoor exhibition space.
“The Hongqiao airport will spare more resources on apron and maintenance ability for business jets to become a business aviation hub in northeast Asia,” Lu said. An industrial chain offering business jet repairing and services is also expected to be set up in the surrounding region.
Shanghai’s two airports have been handling over 6,000 business jets since 2016 to become one of the busiest airports for their takeoff and landing in Asia. Such jets are used for business or private purposes as well as for agriculture and medical rescue.
There are also increasing demands for sightseeing flights among Chinese consumers, the airport authority said.
Some 170 of the top business aircraft makers and operators, including Airbus, Boeing and Canada’s Bombardier, are displaying about three dozen cutting-edge planes at the Hongqiao airport for the exhibition, which runs through to Thursday.
The exhibition, which has been held for the seven years, enables potential buyers to experience the jets and enables industry leaders to discuss the emerging Chinese business jet market. Over 1,000 participants are expected to take part this year, according to Ed Bolen, president and chief executive of the US National Business Aviation Association, which organizes the annual event with Shanghai Airport Authority.
The aircraft displayed range from long-haul fixed-wings to propeller-driven. As a highlight, Bombardier is exhibiting a full-scale replica of its most advanced Global 7000 jet, which is capable of flying non-stop from Shanghai to New York.
Airbus showcases its ACJ319neo, modified from its A319neo commercial aircraft. Its cabin can be equipped with a conference room, a dining room and a double bedroom.
“Chinese buyers especially like larger and modern products,” said David Velupillai, marketing director of Airbus Corporate Jet.
According to a statistics released on the exhibition, China has over 320 billionaires in yuan terms, and a new billionaire emerges every five days, making the country a promising business jet market, Airbus said.
Airbus’s archrival Boeing echoes the sentiment. “The Chinese market will continue to grow, with more demand for ultra-large business jets as Chinese operators travel with larger teams and travel further distances,” said Greg Laxton, president of Boeing Business Jets.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has said in an guideline that the industry size of general aviation, which includes private and business jets, will more than double in the five years through 2020. Five general-aviation airports were built in Chinese cities last year.
Shanghai is also planning to build a general-aviation airport in as yet unnamed outlying district to relieve pressure on the Pudong and Hongqiao airports. It will serve both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The new airport will also be used for flight training, agricultural aviation and air ambulance services.