The recent publication of the Guiding Opinions on General Aviation Classification Management by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the Opinions on Promoting the Orderly Development of General Aviation Airports jointly issued by the CAAC and the National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC) have resulted in a variety of reactions in the business aviation industry. In response to recent policy initiatives and industry trends, the China Mainland committee of the AsBAA held its third quarterly meeting on August 31 in Beijing. The Committee invited representatives of the China Civil Airport Association Business Aviation Service Committee (CCAA) to participate in the exchange.

As of June 2018, China had designated 404 airports that guarantee takeoff and landing rights to general aircraft. However, with 234 being designated as cargo airports, there are only about 170 general aviation airports across China. Currently, professional associations locally and internationally are taking part in dialogues that will connect governments with business aviation operations, and working together to promote fixed business operations bases (FBOs). As we work to ensure standard service procedures and improve operations across the business aviation industry, a number of questions arise. These include how to use the “Fast, Private, and Comfortable” characteristics of business aviation to promote the expansion of a network of general aviation airports across China. In particular, it is important to provide comprehensive services in areas with highly developed economies and high levels market demand, such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei hub, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta. It is also crucial to find ways to remove obstacles to key, non-core airport users, and provide increasingly individualized and efficient travel services.

Pan Youying, representative of the Business Aviation Committee of the CCAA and deputy general manager of Capital Business Jet Co., Ltd., attended the meeting and offered the following statement: “The short-term goal of our special committee is to establish a standardized system for domestic FBOs, taking the lead in drafting standards for domestic industry groups. At the same time, we will work hard to meet the benchmarks of international standards. We will actively work with civil aviation research institutions and the appropriate international industry associations: For example, we will expand training and collaborative work on international exchange with AsBAA and its members. We will promote resource-sharing to ensure continuity of operation and support services for business aviation, and work to ensure the development of small and medium-sized airports, advertising platforms, and promote the overall development of business aviation!”

Rocky Zhang, Chairman of the China Mainland Committee of the AsBAA presided over the meeting, and gave the following statement: “As a member of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), the AsBAA has continuously worked for the adoption of shared standards between domestic and international business aviation groups. We have invited experts from CAST to analyze the system of IS-BAO/IS-BAH, as well as domestic service providers’ pressing need for standardization. The AsBAA is currently evaluating the possibility of developing training on these standards in China in conjunction with the IBAC, which would help new entrants to the domestic & international market to improve their levels of specialized service.”

Participants spoke out about the public service and social benefits of general and business aviation. One particular point was the development of upstream and downstream synergies for air rescue and medical transportation operations and air ambulance services. Participants discussed the questions of who takes responsibility the cost of service as well as how to promote air ambulance operations to the public. There was also considerable discussion of how to make air rescue visible to insurance purchasers. The Association, as well as its members and colleagues in the industry, have spared no effort in promoting air ambulance development, including various visits to hospitals in Tier 1 cities, air ambulance insurance brokers, and relevant policymakers.

Tax experts from PricewaterhouseCoopers Beijing office were invited by the AsBAA Brokers’ Working Group to discuss tax issues for chartered flights. The experts offered a brief but comprehensive analysis of the tax burden that can result under different business models. Several participants commented to remark that this was a very helpful topic.

Chairman Rocky Zhang concluded the meeting by noting the association’s concern over recent trade friction between the U.S. and China: “We are paying very close attention on these events which may bring negative influence to the aviation development, and we are actively mobilizing and participating in a variety of activities, from evaluation to lobbying, in hopes of finding a win-win solution. We will continue to promote the development of general and business aviation in mainland China, as well as providing regular and occasional opportunities for Association members and those in the industry to exchange views, including seminars on topics of interest.”