ABACE2014 Observations: Talk Less About Isms, Have More Things Done

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If regarding ABACE exhibition, which is both professionalized and commercialized prominently, as the wind vane of the Chinese business jet market, then during the show this year, there is quite a consensus among consumers, administrators, manufacturers, operators that the Chinese business jet market is about to enter a stage of transformation. This also brings up a question at the same time: Faced with this transformation, how respective parties respond?

During this show, Wang Zhi Qing, Vice Director of China Civil Aviation Bureau indicates, the development of Chinese business aviation is a systematic issue, including issues of airspace and issues of airport construction, and issues infrastructure construction and training, which cannot be solved by buying several, or tens of airplanes. During the past several years, there has been a so called “burst” in business plane market, which is exactly caused by the lack of understanding about this systematic nature. On one hand, it creates a false and apparent prosperity, causing many to make wrong judgment about the market; on the other hand, it causes some joints of the industry chain to develop rapidly and other joints to be seriously lagged behind, and the market is developed in malformation.

Regarding the above mentioned situations, Civil Aviation Bureau will gradually introduce new supporting policies this year, in order to further activate the market, including encouraging private companies up to the criteria to construct their own general aviation airport, and support local civil airports to setup business aviation functional areas, as well as simplifying approving procedures for introduction of general aviation pilots.

If CAB’s friendly policies have a positive guiding significance, then the guidance of the ideas of manufacturers and operators to the market is more specific. There is a famous idea within American general aviation sector: “No plane, no gain”. It basically means it is hard for a company to make profit and grow without using business aviation products.

During ABACE2012, this idea was introduced to the Chinese business aviation market and strongly promoted. But when you think it again, the idea of “No plane, no gain” is based on the already very matured American general aviation industry, which has highly developed industry chain, and general aviation’s value adding model and its value adding effects on companies are already very apparent. And when you reflect about China, where general aviation is just in a fledging step, and a complete industry chain is not yet established, in this time, introducing this idea might possibly mislead the companies and individuals during their choice of business aviation products. In other words, in America, there is first a complete general aviation industry, only then there is a sublimation of the idea “No plane, no gain”; Whereas in China, manufacturers and operators promote it to for their need to sell products, and drive the development of the Chinese business aviation industry. This is actually a situation of upside down. Meanwhile, pretty much likely there would be frustrations of “Oranges are oranges when they are grown in the south, and they turn into something else when they are moved to the north”.

Regarding the Chinese business aviation market, almost all business jet manufacturers believe it has enormous potential and is growing fast, therefore they leave no effort when they promote their business in China. However, in the opinion of the author, these business jet manufacturers did not show a hundred percent sincerity, they made little efforts in other sectors within business aviation industry, which is quite a contrast to their efforts in selling their products. In the field of business aviation, the selling of a business jet is not a one-time deal, and there are even higher value added areas apart from selling of the plane itself, including later personnel training, equipment support, integrated maintenance. In Chinese market, contrary to the selling of business jets, many foreign manufacturers are either completely void in these areas, or progressing very slowly, so that one can’t help feeling they only want to sell products and don’t want to mingle into the Chinese market.

It is because of their urgent need to sell their products in the Chinese market, the foreign manufacturers exhausted their vocabulary to praise their products, making their products look “supreme”, that’s no difference from telling the public that business jet is a luxury. However when facing potential jet buyer, they would sell their concept of time machine, and try to dilute its color as a piece of luxury, and this contradiction is likely to affect people’s idea about business plane, and causing buyers to prefer large scale luxurious models.

All said above boils down to one point: transformation of the Chinese general aviation market has begun, future business aviation market definitely will get more and more rational, and during this process, temporary low tide is unavoidable. And considering long term development, it requires that all parties take on a pragmatic attitude to move it, so that this market with enormous potential can be nurtured in a good way.

China Aviation News Report, correspondent:Yuan Xinli

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