Business Aviation News

The Global Sky Forum Wrap-up: Southeast Asia Shows its Potential

The Global Sky Forum Wrap-up: Southeast Asia Shows its Potential

Industry leaders spoke about a noticeable business shift from Hong Kong to Singapore, as well as growth in markets including Indonesia, Vietnam and India. One of the highlights of the conference was a panel that explored if, or rather when, China’s business aviation market will return to pre-Covid levels.

Asian Sky Group recently held its first in-person business aviation forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With a focus on the Southeast Asia business aviation market, the forum brought together just over 150 business aviation professionals from across the region. 

Touching upon the unique and diverse Southeast Asian market, industry leaders spoke about the challenges of operating in the region. Other topics included cultural issues that companies outside of the region faced when trying to enter the region, as well as a noticeable business shift from Hong Kong to Singapore. Although the conference took place in Malaysia, expert panelists also highlighted Indonesia, Vietnam and India as countries that are seeing growth.

One of the highlights of the conference was a panel that explored if, or rather when, China’s business aviation market will return to pre-Covid levels. Jeffrey C. Lowe, Director of Asian Sky Group and Vice Chairman of Avion Pacific Group, noted that the business climate in China is getting better, but despite this the country will face supply chain issues when the business aviation market returns. David Dixon, President of Jetcraft Asia, whilst less upbeat than other panelists noted that China still has the issues that it had pre-Covid, particularly with the lack of airports in the country. Wu Zhendong, Chairman of Avion Pacific Limited, Asian Sky Group and Asian Sky Group, was the most upbeat, saying that “things will come back much quicker” than some other people would think. 

Another panel looked at “Sustainability in Southeast Asia,” which featured Ian Moore, Chief Commercial Officer of VistaJet dialing in remotely from Zurich, Switzerland, and Faizal Khan, Director at FBO Operations Singapore who joined Asian Sky Group’s Managing Director Tan Rahman on stage in Kuala Lumpur. Both Moore and Khan talked about the growing importance of sustainable business aviation, and called upon companies in the industry to come together and take “baby steps” to achieve 2050 carbon neutral goals.

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) was one of the most talked-about solutions in the session. Although supply is scarce and the price is high, Moore said SAF is the “most obvious way” to decarbonize the sector at this moment. “It’s the right thing for the industry. If we don’t do it, the industry might extinct,” said Moore. 

Instead of merely relying on commercial airlines, business aviation can take the first step in adopting SAF, Khan said. “We can influence supplies by a single movement, for example, by adopting 5%-10% of SAF,” he said. “I’m very optimistic that we can achieve it by 2050. We can start today, tomorrow, or now at this moment.” 

Towards the end of the panel an anonymous comment made by a delegate via Slido suggested that VistaJet won the sustainability battle as they did the panel remotely rather than in person. 

Electric aircraft are regarded as another rapidly emerging industry that is likely to drive sustainable practices. Adrian Morales, Business Development Manager of Advanced Air Mobility, Groupe ADP said advanced air mobility (AAM) is not only about transporting people from point A to point B, but a way to improve people’s lives and bring the community together. 

Yun-yuan Tay, Head of Asia Pacific, Skyports, divided the Asia-Pacific markets into two categories: countries which are keen to introduce AAM like Japan and Australia, and those with huge market demands like China and India. He said “eVTOL passenger transport has always been the sexiest part which is going to lead the industry,” adding that he hopes to announce some exciting news about the region soon. 

During the “Does Size Matter?” session, Boeing Business Jets, Airbus Corporate Jets, Dassault Aviation and Bombardier joined a discussion about the Southeast Asian market’s long existing preference for large-cabin jets. Alexis Fecteau, David Mezenen, Jean-Michel Jacob and Nazee Sajedi spoke about the unique features of each OEM, and how each is ideally suited to the Southeast Asian markets. 

Finally, during the Women in Corporate Aviation panel, Penny Lim from Navfix said she’s glad to work in an industry where females are welcomed. Lim also said women need to embrace stereotypes and gender differences while working harder. 

“Females are equally capable in these roles (in business aviation), just their stories are less told,” said Amy Yang from VistaJet. Aida Ismail from HADID said she’s confident to see a growing number of females in the industry in the years to come, even in senior positions.

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