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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
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Flightworx director explains why AP has put the brakes on
Shiny new jets have been arriving into the Asia Pacific region, but whether the maintenance infrastructure reflects this remains to be seen. This isn't the only problem, as the region has been hit by uprisings, trade sanctions and wealth cutbacks.
The Asia Pacific business aviation market has been flatlining, according to Chris Anderson-Jones.
Read this story in our March 2020 printed issue.

For our Perspectives series, we talk to experienced business aviation industry professionals, who share with us their unique insights and offer a window into their world. This month's interviewee is Chris Anderson-Jones, director of global flight planning provider Flightworx. He is witnessing hesitancy from customers in Asia Pacific, with politics dictating much of the behaviour:

“We have customers all the way across the Asia Pacific region, down to Australia and all the way up through it. We have a lot of operators flying through China in particular, though we don’t have any direct Chinese customers. We are seeing a slowdown, we are seeing caution and, taking the virus aspect out of the equation, the slowdown has been happening over the last six to 12 months anyway. We see it more as a governmental issue, with governments cracking down on wealth and where people are spending their money.

We were doing a lot of business for gambling firms, and they have been hit very hard as this ‘wealth push’ has heightened. Uprisings in Hong Kong have not helped either, and just to top it off you have got the US having a trade spat with China too, trying to reset the tone.

We organise a lot of charter work in and out of China, and leasing of aircraft. Everything appears to be under a lot of strain at the moment. We are seeing an extension of leases, in other words customers not rushing to get the aircraft back, or we are seeing some nervousness around who has got what airframes out there and whether they should be taken back or not. It’s a strange one, and caution really is the best word I have for it, to describe the whole situation.

Flight planning and logistics is our business, we are not chartering ourselves. We are aiding charter companies to operate throughout the region. We also have private operators who seem to be holding off going to the region for now, and by that I mean Asia as a whole. People are hesitating to go to the region, at the moment, from what we see. It could be that this is just a bottleneck before things reopen and flood. It depends what the US does, as trade decisions will affect private operators, and they may want to start visiting again once it becomes viable to do so. But for sure, this virus is not going to help matters. It just adds to the nervousness.

Asia Pacific is an emerging market in business aviation and it will continue to be so, as it is still relatively small, even though it has grown significantly over the last five years. The infrastructure, for example for maintenance and fixing of aircraft throughout the region is poor, despite the fact that brand new shiny jets are arriving – they still need to be serviced. So ‘emerging’ is still the key word.

As far as growth is concerned, I would say that figures over the last 12 months or so have shown that it has flatlined a bit, and is slightly reducing in some areas. There was a boom in growth, but now the brakes are on.”

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