Mainland's aviation boom gives new focus

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2011, 12:00am

Asia's growing influence in the resurgent aviation industry is being driven by the mainland, the biggest market for aircraft in the world today. That will be reflected in the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress, which opens its doors at AsiaWorld-Expo today and runs until Thursday.

More than 11,000 trade delegates will attend the event, including 3,500 from the mainland. About 1,200 of these mainland delegates are from airlines that operate 90 per cent of the nation's fleet.

Organiser Reed Exhibitions expects the attendance from global airlines to significantly exceed the figure in 2009 when the 100 featured airlines operated more than 11,000 aircraft, more than half the world's commercial fleet.

A major reason is the improving climate for the aviation sector after the sharp downturn in the last two years due to the global financial crisis.

'We are back - bigger and better, with a record number of exhibitors and visitors at a terrific, centrally located venue,' says Brian Thomas, vice-president (aerospace) at Reed Exhibitions.

'The continuing shift of influence and commercial dynamism towards Asia means that Asian Aerospace has grown as the most important fixture in Asia for commercial aviation. We are especially delighted to welcome new Western and mainland companies who have identified the show as a must-attend networking opportunity.'

Asian Aerospace, which is taking place in Hong Kong for the third time, has a packed programme of informative conferences and a busy exhibition hall, where 270 exhibitors from 32 countries will be represented under one roof.

The largest exhibitor will be the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), manufacturer of the C919 airliner, while newcomers to the show include the Mitsubishi Regional Jet from Japan and the Sukhoi Superjet 100 from Russia. Other major exhibitors will be Airbus, Air China Technics, AVIC International, Boeing, Bombardier, Cathay Pacific, CFM international, China Eastern, China Southern Cargo, Dassault, Gulfstream, Haeco and Hawker Beechcraft.

The focus of the three-day congress will be China, the biggest aviation market in the world in terms of the number of aircraft on order. It will be attended by leaders from the aerospace, airline, airport, aircraft leasing and financial sectors.

The congress will discuss critical issues such as growth and development, infrastructure, financing strategies, airspace optimisation and emerging technologies.

The large static aircraft display at Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre will feature a record number of business jets. Bombardier will exhibit a Learjet 60XR, Challenger CL300, Challenger CL850 and Global Express XRS, while Gulfstream will display a G150, G200, G450 and G550. Airbus will display its A318 Elite and Boeing a BBJ, while Cessna will exhibit a Citation Sovereign & Citation X, and charter service provider Jetstream International's Citation 560XL. Dassault will showcase the Falcon 2000LX & 7X, Embraer will display the Legacy 650 and Hawker Beechcraft the 4000 & 900XP. Smaller business aircraft on show include the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350i and Pilatus PC-12.

An Asian Business Aviation Association event, 'Business aircraft in Asia - a buyer's and operator's guide', will be held tomorrow and Thursday in the conference room, Hangar 2, at the aviation centre. Global and regional experts will offer their views on the market.

These include representatives from Airbus, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer, Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft Corp, JSSI, Merrill Lynch, TAG Asia, Jet Aviation, Hawker Pacific, The ASA Group, Signature Flight Support and Flight Safety International.

Air Freight Asia, the region's foremost conference and exhibition for air cargo and supply chain executives, will hold its conference, called 'The Golden Dragon: China's air cargo market continues to shine', over all three days.

The event will be attended by global and local leaders in air freight, logistics and freight forwarding. Delegates will also have the opportunity to make site visits to the world's leading international air cargo terminal operator, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited, Asia Airfreight Terminal and DHL's Central Asia hub, all situated at Hong Kong International Airport.

Asian Aerospace will also host the Asia-Pacific Airline Training Symposium in a dedicated simulation and training pavilion, while Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department will also host a separate accident investigation conference.

Reed Exhibitions and Asian Aviation magazine will hold the inaugural Aviation Awards Asia. The awards will celebrate outstanding achievements in the commercial aviation industry in five categories: full-service airlines, low-cost carriers, business aviation, technology and environment.

Reed Exhibitions is the world's leading organiser of trade and consumer exhibitions. Every year, it runs more than 500 events in 38 countries, bringing together about 90,000 suppliers and six million buyers. It has 2,600 staff, serving 47 industries.