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Severe restrictions at airports and inadequate infrastructure are affecting the utility and future growth of business aviation in Asia-Pacific. But there is a solution: Private capital.

Charlie Mularski, Chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA).

“There is capital available. All we need is government to relax and allow private capital to invest, to work with government on infrastructure. That’s the only solution,” says Charlie Mularski, Chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA).

Easier said than done. AsBAA has taken on two major battles: access and infrastructure.  But to make progress it must do two things: change the general perception that business jets are just toys for the rich and famous, and educate aviation officials who daily deal with airlines and commercial aviation but have had little exposure to business aviation and its economic benefits, and its needs.

Mularski’s frontal approach is slow but steady, while behind the scenes AsBAA cultivates the media and anyone of influence that will listen.

What could appear to be a huge problem can be a smaller problem if all involved address it rather than fight over it, Mularski says. His preferred modus operandi: “We all sit on the same side of the table and not fight each other, not blame each other, and not look backwards but look forwards.”

This approach paid dividends at Hong Kong International Airport, where business aviation and the 150-based business jets have to fight for slots against burgeoning low-cost carriers and growing cargo traffic. “It is, in fact, the Perfect Storm,” says Mularski. A third runway could help, but that is right to ten years away.

“Our focus now is on working with the authorities to implement practices that maximize resources and create tangible change. We were encouraged to see that AsBAA’s recommendations on slots relating to penalties and cancellation guidelines have already been implemented.

“When looking at the statistical impact of the suggested changes, we can see positive change with around a 25% reduction in wasted slots. We will continue this work with the authorities, members and the media to ensure that Hong Kong does not miss out on the economic benefits our industry brings to the city.”