IMPROVED BA/GA FLIGHTS IN HONG KONG THROUGH BETTER SLOT ARRANGEMENTS - Madonna Fung, General Manager, Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre
Committed to safety, service and style, Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC) is an executive aviation support facility for business aircraft. Located in the aviation hub of Asia and operating around the clock, HKBAC is one of the most convenient arrival and departure points for destinations in Mainland China and beyond. Deemed the ‘Best Asian FBO’ by Professional Pilot’s PRASE survey for ten consecutive years, General Manager Madonna Fung helped ASG understand the company’s success and the region’s need for better infrastructure.
With China being the locomotive of business aviation growth throughout the region in the coming decades and the emergence of numerous Chinese multinational companies, business aviation generates genuine demands for different aircraft type to achieve their business purposes. Together with the Belt and Road initiative launched by the Chinese government in 2015, HKBAC anticipates a positive and steady growth with sustainable development opportunity in the region.
What services does HKBAC provide?
HKBAC’s executive terminal, designated apron and the three hangar complexes (accommodating 13 aircraft) are designed and built to the highest international standards. Inside these facilities, 140 plus staff work tirelessly to ensure a comprehensive, flexible and safe service to customers, including:
- Aircraft technical services (aircraft handling, refuelling, line maintenance, potable water service, lavatory service, aircraft hangarage, ground power unit, aircraft cleaning, air conditioning unit and nitrogen & oxygen service),
- Passenger and crew services (on-site customs and immigration, landing permit application, runway slot coordination, executive lounges, security services, baggage services, VIP catering services, dishwashing, crew rest facilities and conference facilities) and,
- Concierge services (limousine service and cross-boundary car rental, hotel reservation, 24-hour camera surveillance system & security program, disable facilities available, foreign exchange arrangement service, china visa arrangement, city tour guidance and parcel arrangement service).
What factors can be attributed to HKBAC consistently being awarded ‘Best Asian FBO’?
One essential factor is our valuable human asset. Without “CAN-DO” team spirit, HKBAC would not be recognized as ‘BEST FBO’. Our staff members are dedicated to serve our mission and to be “Committed to Safety, Service and Style”. These three factors attributed to the award and have ensured a high service standard consistently during the past 19 years.
Beside the human asset and 3S concept, HKBAC’s executive terminal, designated apron and three hangar complexes fulfil customers’ needs. Ever-upgrading amenities such as the special pilot lounge and other resting facilities are offered to crew members and passengers, as a result of customer survey findings and feedback. HKBAC’s engagement with its stakeholders and customers is one of the secrets to customer services, which always address needs before they become apparent.
Which partnerships enable HKBAC to continue providing award-winning service?
In terms of internal operations, HKBAC communicates regularly and works closely with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) and the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), particularly for policy formulation related to the development of business aviation, to ensure that Hong Kong may maintain and strengthen its position as an international and regional aviation hub. HKBAC cooperates with four professional MRO companies, which provide technical support to various aircraft types.
As for external associations, HKBAC is one of nine Platinum members of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA). We participate and receive the latest developments of the industry from regional and international industrial professionals to cater to the ever-growing needs and demand of Business Aviation.
Besides aviation-related organizations, HKBAC has laid grounds to nurture new talents and refine the existing training program in HKBAC through cooperating with the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE). HKBAC have worked closely with HKPC to find areas of improvement and that includes refining the training process, for example, together we have introduced the towing simulator to ensure our staff-in-training may receive adequate practice and hence, improve the service and operation quality and efficiency. As for IVE, we have co-organized a summer internship program with their Tsing Yi, Hong Kong campus to attract interested and talented youth into the business aviation industry, and we are happy to say that there are former interns that are currently working for us now.
How does Hong Kong’s business aviation infrastructure compare to the rest of the region?
In terms of infrastructure, we are the first in the region to have a customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) integrated executive lounge and its own underground fuel hydrant system. Having a CIQ integrated executive lounge means that all CIQ and security procedures can be completed a speedy way. Moreover, as our facilities and apron is located separately from the commercial terminal, passengers can enjoy a hassle-free and private environment before departure or after arrival.
Also, with our very own fuel hydrant system at the apron ensures that we are able respond to fuelling service requests in a timely and efficient manner.
What does Hong Kong need to do to improve the business aviation industry?
HKBAC has and will continue to work with the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) and the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) to overcome the limits and break new grounds in the field of business aviation, this can be witnessed through the steady improvements regarding runway and parking slots at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Last year, with the support of AA, HKBAC has significantly increased our parking capacity through parking re-configuration on the apron and the Northern Apron Extension project. And recently, the fruitful exchanges between HKBAC, AA, and CAD has brought on the increase in the number of BA/GA night slots to seven, in total, and enabled the Gulfstream 650 to fly during night slots.
Other than expanding upon the runway, parking capacity, and flexibility, we believe the aviation industry would also benefit in two areas: a storage for aircraft parts in Hong Kong to allow for a timelier maintenance service and the injection of new talents in the industry.
The storage would especially be beneficial for our industry because we are visited by a great variety of aircraft from all over the world and, with a good storage unit, aircraft maintenance can be completed in the shortest possible time.
Moreover, as we work relentlessly to provide the best service to our customers, we hope in the long-run to inspire and nurture youth in Hong Kong to become all-rounded individuals who may contribute to the business aviation industry and extend our aviation dream.
What can the industry expect from HKBAC in the next few years?
The future for HKBAC will be service optimization and increased cooperation with our regional neighbours and friends.
In terms of the services provided, a new operation system, Mobile Operation system (MOS), will be introduced to replace the current one. The self-developed system is moulded to the unique service nature of business aviation, with the specific aim to:
- Enhance customer service experience
- Improve operational efficiency
- Maintaining a competitive advantage
This system offers a one stop solution, allowing aircraft operator or its representative to place handling and service requests on a single platform. Once the service request is carried out by our operations team, a real-time completion status will be sent to our customers through their mobile devices and our dedicated staff may personal bring a tablet to them to complete the transaction. Hence, saving time and adding convenience to our customers and allowing us to know the pattern and needs of our clients so that we may further improve the key service areas for them.
In addition to the MOS system, HKBAC also aims to maintain its competitiveness by participating in FBO developments in China. We aim to work with different China FBOs and governmental organizations to establish a wider FBO network and industrial exchange which will pave way for more possibilities and benefits to the aviation industry in the Asia-pacific region.