Seletar International Airport, one of Asia’s major business aviation hubs, saw traffic levels drop 61% in 2020 and another 17% in 2021, but saw aircraft movements increase by 92% from the beginning of the year until January 27 compared to the equivalent year. earlier period, possibly signaling a resurgence of business aviation activity in the region.
Based on business jet departure data provided by WingX Advance of Hamburg, Germany, AIN estimates that business aviation movements at Seletar totaled around 6,500 in 2019, 3,100 in 2020 and 2,600 in 2021. As of last month, WingX had recorded 113 business jet departures at Seletar.
Seletar’s oldest player, Universal Aviation, began operations in Singapore in 1991 and is its longest-serving FBO and ground handling licensee. The 2019 opening of the Seletar Business Aviation Center (SBAC), a joint venture of SATS Seletar Aviation Services, Universal Aviation Singapore and Jet Aviation, has improved business aviation services at the airport.
“It’s a very competitive FBO and ground handling market, for a relatively small ramp,” said Yvonne Chan, Universal Aviation’s Asia-Pacific director. AIN. “We have continued to remain strong and competitive over the years despite increased competition. We grew from a small team of four or five people to 25 people and gradually added equipment over the years. We continue to focus on customer service and safety, recently achieving ISBAH Stage 3. »
The SBAC has served as the focal point for general and business aviation since its inception, and has provided a modern, premium experience for crew and passengers while maintaining its neutrality to support all managers and the community. general aviation.
“It enhanced the handling experience,” she said. “From a small WWII-era building to a modern dedicated facility, SBAC was a huge upgrade. The partnership combined SATS’ award-winning lounge management expertise with two specialists in business aviation.
Covid-19 continued to affect the industry on many levels. Omicron had delayed Singapore’s attempt to ease travel restrictions on daily life. Asia-Pacific travel remained difficult due to closed or restricted borders and quarantine measures taken by neighboring countries. “It impacts the business side of things, especially Seletar, a regional airline hub for business aviation,” she said.
“At the start of the pandemic, traffic was down to a trickle. The Singapore government has supported the industry to help us retain talent despite the difficult business environment, and businesses to prepare for the return of traffic,” Chan explained. “Now, however, despite the easing of border restrictions here, other countries are not reciprocating, hampering travel in the region. We have seen a 20-30% annual increase in travel, spurred by the vaccinated traffic lane here, but it’s still a far cry from pre-Covid traffic.
Singapore’s FBO competitor Jet Aviation announced in September that it had obtained International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) AS/EN 9110 certification, a set of quality standards tailored to the aviation industry. Space and Defense (ASD), in recognition of its quality. management system at Seletar. “Following Basel certification in January 2018, this is the company’s second MRO site to achieve this internationally recognized industry standard,” he said.
Dubai, UAE-based Jetex will use the SBAC facility until Bombardier opens its new FBO for Jetex to operate under its license. It expects to take over half of the FBO market in Seletar within about two years once the coronavirus pandemic is over, its chief executive said. AIN on the eve of the Singapore Airshow.
“My vision is that the minute the market recovers, Jetex will have an immediate 50% market share in Singapore,” said Founder and CEO Adel Mardini. “I am confident in its success, as all customers who use us in Dubai, and in over 30 locations around the world, will benefit from Jetex’s facilities in Singapore. »
Jetex signed an agreement with Canada’s Bombardier in October 2020 that extends the Dubai-based company’s FBO presence to Seletar, making Singapore its fourth destination in the Asia-Pacific region after Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) and Osaka. It also operates an office in Beijing, China, according to its website.
“Bombardier is a major global OEM,” he said. “We started our relationship with Bombardier in Dubai, then extended it to Singapore, where they invested $100 million in their facilities.”
Mardini said that meant he would avoid building relationships with other OEMs to allow him to set up other FBO facilities in the region under Bombardier’s umbrella, while ties with carriers like VistaJet would only strengthen the bond. “Jetex remains loyal to Bombardier and we are building a strong, long-term relationship with them,” he said. “VistaJet has a wonderful modern Bombardier fleet. They were our first customers in Singapore and we appreciate their trust in Jetex globally.
He noted that several locations in Asia-Pacific could expand rapidly. “Our strategy is to establish a flagship Jetex product in Singapore and then expand across the region,” he said. “Once you are in Singapore, everyone in the area knows who you are.”
Thailand presents a good opportunity, but he thinks other FBO operators, such as local company MJets, have already made inroads. “We are looking at different places: Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia are promising,” Mardini said. “I see an increase in aircraft ownership in Indonesia. Two aircraft were sold to an Indonesian owner in November, a sign of the changing business there. The Philippines is growing rapidly and looks very promising.