Chinese airport construction will relieve infrastructure constraints that are holding back the development of business aviation in the country, Embraer said.
Most important will be construction of additional commercial airports, not the remarkable total of 500 general-aviation fields that China also wants to build, said Guan Dongyuan, president of Embraer China.
Business aircraft users are finding increasing difficulty in accessing China’s busiest airports, not just Beijing Capital International and Shanghai Hongqiao International, but also facilities in such prosperous cities as Shenzhen and Chengdu.
But Guan notes that China plans to have 260 airports operating by the end of 2020, compared with about 220 at present.
“After all these airports are put into service, for sure the infrastructure situation will be improved,” Guan told reporters ahead of the opening of the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition April 11-13 here.
The outlook for business aviation will be excellent when the extra airport capacity is available, Guan said.
A downturn in sales of business aircraft to China began in 2013 when the government began a crackdown on corruption. Many Chinese billionaires suddenly wanted to avoid being known as owners of private jets. Still, the infrastructure problem has been rising, too, further discouraging people from buying business aircraft.
In other countries, business-aircraft operators rely heavily on airfields constructed mainly for other forms of general aviation. Guan does not expect the 500 planned general-aviation fields to play a leading role in Chinese business aviation, however. Commercial airports are likely to be much better located.
The single most important airport development in China, for airlines and business aviation, is the construction of an airport at Daxing in the southern suburbs of Beijing. Business aviation can hardly use Beijing Capital at peak hours and has increasing difficulty getting access to its runways at other times, too.
For some years there has been a proposal for a business aviation airfield for Beijing, but little progress appears to have been made. Guan thinks it will eventually be needed, even though the new commercial airport will be available. The Daxing facility is due for completion in 2019.