Sunday, March 20, 2011

Business Basics

Asian Airlines and Airports
March 21,  2011
Neelam Mathews

Even as India’s business and general aviation continues to grow by over 12% with signs of accelerated growth in future, there is a call by the Business Aviation Association of India to review the complex regulatory framework according to global norms.

An in-depth study by think-tank Australian Center of Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) points out India has a total fleet of 681 as against 912 projected at different forums. The mix includes 236 single pistons, 250 helicopters, 91 turboprops and 104 business jets.

Emerging multinational companies have a large, pent-up need for rapid and flexible transportation across and between continents. As economic growth continues to be the catalyst for aviation growth, a significant increase in individuals with high net worth who recognize time as a premium.

More mid-size corporations are looking for alternatives to provide flexibility of travel schedules, Karan Singh, Vice President BAAI, said.

“The regulatory framework is only for scheduled aviation and there is no attention being paid to the general aviation sector,” complains CAPA South Asia CEO Kapil Kaul.

No real FBOs, lack of parking space at major airports, complicated permit approvals, lack of funding  options of business aircraft and legal implications need to be addressed according to BAAI.

India is already being viewed as a fast growing market by companies including Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet, the international luxury flight services company, jointly owned by Abu Dhabi Aviation and the Presidential Flight Authority.

Royal Jet is the world’s largest single BBJ operator (six); two midrange Gulfstream 300s; a long-range Gulfstream IVSP; a Lear Jet 60 and an Embraer Lineage 1000. “The UAE and India’s long history of strong economic and trade relations makes it a key market in our global expansion efforts…..we are aiming to increase our network of brokers and private jet users in India specifically corporate and government departments,” says Fahad Wali, acting vice president commercial.

Embraer  in the process of delivering its third Phenom 100 entry level jet to  Mumbai-based on-demand air charter Invision Air Services.The aircraft is the first of 18 Phenom100s that was ordered three years ago, along with two Embraer Phenom 300 jets. By the end of the year, Embraer will have delivered six Phenoms.

AAA has learnt that Embraer has sold two of its Lineage 1000s to Indian customers. Each jet costs around $53 million at list price.

In support of Embraer’s Phenom jets going into service in India, Mumbai-based Indamer and Air Works are now Embraer’s authorized service centre for maintenance including line maintenance, repair and  overhaul services for these aircraft, as well as for the Legacy 600, says José Eduardo Costas, Embraer Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Asia Pacific Executive Jets. One maintenance is required every 12 months for business jets after approximately 600 hours of flying.

The demand for long-range business jets, such as Gulfstream G450 and G550 remains robust because of the rapid expansion of global business ties, says Roger Sperry, Gulfstream’s regional senior vice president, International Sales.

“We see great long-term potential in the Indian market as infrastructure for business aviation expands  in this segment,” said Sperry. Infrastructure includes business-jet passenger terminals (FBOs), expanded ramp space and hangar facilities as well as increased airport capacity.

Presently, curfews in major cities limit available operating slots for business jets, he says. “These are the challenges of a fast growing economy, and we expect they will be addressed, because business aviation is an important component of the transportation system,” Sperry said.

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