AsBAA caught up with Aljoscha Subasinghe, Business Development Manager of Asia Flight Services, to discuss industry trends in Southeast Asia and market growth in the region.
How has business aviation advanced in Southeast Asia in the past 2 years
Even though business aviation in Southeast Asia is heavily depended on traffic to and from Greater China, the continued slowdown of traffic within China has impacted the region less than expected.
Both leisure and business destinations are still in high demand and most airports in Southeast Asia are having trouble to keep up with demand for slots and parking space.
We also see increased investment and positive regulatory changes in the aviation landscape. Vietnam has opened a new airport, Cambodia has implemented a licensing system for handling agents, Thailand and Myanmar are seeing new VIP Facilities being built and Indonesia allows for more flexibility with overflight permits.
What are the major industries for clients using business and general aviation in new markets such as Laos?
While business aviation is continuing to grow in Southeast Asia, most of the traffic has historically been inbound flights from more established markets such as Greater China, Australia, India, etc. both for leisure and business purposes.
This is particularly true for new markets like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Only very recently have we seen a pronounced increase of traffic catering to individuals and groups based in these countries. This shows that business aviation is starting to become a valuable tool for local businessmen and leisure travelers alike, where before they would opt for travel on commercial airlines.
The main challenge now is a shortage of supply. With no charter aircraft being based in these countries, it means that planes must be flown in from places like Singapore or Hong Kong, which increases the overall cost of the operation.
How are you supporting the growth of the market in Laos?
Laos is often overlooked due to its landlocked location and relatively small economy. However, the increasing number of tourist arrivals and strong GDP growth indicate that there is great potential for the aviation industry, including business aviation.
Having recognized this, we have opened our Laos offices in the capital Vientiane as well as in the second largest city, Luang Prabang, in 2013, where we service both scheduled and non-scheduled flights. Luang Prabang in particular is gaining popularity with international leisure travelers which prompted us to open a crew lounge at the airport, where flight crew can rest and prepare for their next sector.
We hope that we can help the growth of this market by bringing attention to Laos and the opportunity it offers for business aviation.
Where can AsBAA members learn more about the state-of-play in developing markets?
Since 2018 we are holding regular AsBAA chapter meetings in Bangkok, Thailand (the next one being scheduled for 17 February 2020, details here). All members are welcome to join and discuss how we can improve the business aviation landscape.
Lastly, as always, please check asbaa.org for the latest news and feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any other information.
Business Development Manager
Asia Flight Services