[Hong Kong, October 31, 2016] In recognition of Chinese policy supporting general and business aviation, on Wednesday 2nd November 2016, an inaugural flight, coordinated by AsBAA and its sponsor members, from Hong Kong Shun Tak Heliport to Zhuhai Jiwan Airport will depart at 1200 and land at 1245. The commemoration of this momentous flight will take place shortly after from 1400 to 1500 in the Press Room, China Air Show at Zhuhai.

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This Helicopter flight marks the opening of temporary CIQ for general and business aviation (GA/BA) at Zhuhai airport. Following a series of AsBAA led meetings, including a recent members’ delegation Zhuhai earlier this month, the CAAC has granted operators a three-month temporary CIQ, during which time stakeholders must demonstrate that there is sufficient frequency of traffic to put in place some more expansive, longer-term measures.

The move to open up links between transport hubs in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region comes after months of crisis talks relating to availability of slots and parking at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). Currently, demand overwhelmingly exceeds supply. This will undoubtedly continue until the third runway is built. As a result of Hong Kong being at capacity, there is enormous potential for alternative airports to absorb the existing and growing demand.

Both industry experts and economists agree that substantial growth across Greater China is inevitable. This latest move from authorities to support the movement of aircraft between the two hubs could present a viable solution for authorities and industry to tackle some of the issues currently limiting this growth. Demand exists where paying customers are willing to relocate to Zhuhai if and when the authorities recognise the importance of working with the private sector to resolve vast bottleneck at Tier 1 airports in the Pearl River Delta and across the country.

China’s endorsement of general aviation stimulates tourism, medical accessibility, new business and leisure travel in Greater China.  AsBAA Chairman, Charlie Mularski said, “AsBAA works with our members and the authorities to find solutions to some of the common issues of our industry. Un-bottling bottlenecks in the region, and specifically in Hong Kong has been a major focus area in 2016. We are encouraged to see some positive steps now being taken towards a solution with the introduction of CIQ at Zhuhai. We’d like to thank those that have supported this project and urge that we collectively use this three-month period wisely in order to demonstrate the need for open skies in the PRD to establish a permanent solution for parking and safe and fast connectivity between Zhuhai and Hong Kong”.

Eighty million people are expected to live in the Greater Pearl River Delta by 2020. Consequently, the importance of planned investments in infrastructure, social infrastructure, commercial and industrial space and housing becomes clear. Improved connectivity throughout the region allowing citizens wider options for employment, housing, leisure and social services ensures no one city becomes overburdened, as explained in Global city focus: China’s Pearl River Delta, by C. Walker, J. Sheerin, W. Xu, F. Au and D. Legge-Kemp.

The Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macau bridge has demonstrated successful coordination and cooperation between three governments working together to deliver economic benefits to the entire region. Following this achievement, it is well-timed to explore bridging airspace between the three jurisdictions. The proven beneficial collaboration of the Pearl River Delta will serve as a test case for China to follow.

In light of this, AsBAA, the non-profit trade association representing general and business aviation in the region, has listened to their members in the commercial community to coordinate and promote a symbolic gesture of support where AsBAA members stand together with China in opening up the invisible borders for the betterment of One country, Two systems.

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