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Soaring High

Although Hong Kong has long been an aviation hub for Asia, back in the Kai Tak days, the city did not have a service centre for private jets. Even the most important of VIPs had to transit alongside the hordes of travellers and tourists.

That changed in 1998 with the establishment of the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC), which put Hong Kong on the map as one of the first cities in Asia to provide dedicated facilities for business jets.

HKBAC was launched when its four major shareholders – Sun Hung Kai Properties, the Kadoorie Group, China Southern Airlines and Signature Flight Support – saw the opportunity to develop the business aviation sector in Hong Kong. Their instincts proved correct, and the centre, known in the industry as a fixed-base operator, or FBO, has grown over the years.

To start with, the company had fewer than 10 staff members, who worked round the clock to provide the high standard of service required. Now, HKBAC has around 140 staff based at Hong Kong International Airport, and has been recognized as a premier executive aviation facility with a series of awards.

“Our huge efforts to improve internal operations – which include our safety standards, services, and the facilities and amenities – are highly recognized by the industry,” explained General Manager Madonna Fung. “We are proud to have been voted the Best Asian FBO for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years from 2008 to 2018 by the Professional Pilot’s PRASE (Preference Regarding Aviation Services and Equipment) Survey.”

Sheree Cheung, Director of Administration and Business Development at HKBAC, added that the company has also been recognized globally. “We are not just a pioneer in Asia; we have in fact been listed as a top-rated FBO internationally as well.”

Fung herself has contributed to the company’s trophy shelf when she won the Woman of the Year 2016 award from the Asian Business Aviation Association.

HKBAC has achieved a number of milestones since its launch. For example, the company implemented a CIQ-integrated executive lounge in 1999, which handles Customs, Immigration and Quarantine procedures.

“We were actually one of the first in the Asia-Pacific region,” Fung said. “Having a CIQ-integrated executive lounge means CIQ and security procedures can all be completed within 15 minutes within the HKBAC premises.”

Another benefit for the company’s clients is that HKBAC’s facilities and apron are located separately from the commercial terminal, Fung added. “This means passengers can enjoy a hassle-free and private environment before departure or after arrival.” 

Cheung pointed to the company’s construction of three dedicated aircraft hangars since its launch to demonstrate how the industry has grown. These provide areas for aircraft maintenance and checking, and allow operators or aircraft management companies to store aircraft parts for urgent use.

The company has also been keeping up-to-date by digitizing and simplifying its services. “HKBAC Connect,” a mobile application launched in February last year, is another milestone. The online platform provides a one-stop solution that allows stakeholders to complete flight bookings, make changes and record additional orders on a single platform. This enhances efficiency and productivity, and reduces the risk of miscommunication.

When asked what factors contributed to the success of HKBAC, Fung said: “It’s our long standing commitment to the three Ss – Safety, Service and Style.” 

She explained that this refers to all areas of the business, from every safe tow of an aircraft, to ensuring top-quality delivery of services, to the highly personal style of customer handling. Excellence among staff members is another priority.

“One essential factor of success is our invaluable human assets,” she added. “The ‘can-do’ spirit we have treasured and nurtured since day one is embedded in the heart of every HKBAC staff member and underlines everything we do.”

Fung gave the example of a regular client whose footrest had broken.

“She was very distressed as it had been one that she had used for years, with sentimental value, and could not be replaced easily,” Fung explained. The team at HKBAC sprung into action and found a seamstress who was able to restore it, without a thread out of place, in the space of 24 hours.

“The VIP was overjoyed and expressed her sincere gratitude when she received her footrest back. This story is only one of a million we could share.” Fung added.

Looking to the future, Fung and Cheung agree that the Belt and Road and Greater Bay Area initiatives are likely to provide future growth and development.

“We expect continuous positive growth in the business aviation sector, especially in cities and countries that have yet to be directly connected by commercial airlines,” Fung said. 

HKBAC is eager to explore cooperative opportunities with airports and other FBOs, she added. As these Mainland initiatives help to create new markets for the business jet sector, it seems like blue skies are ahead for HKBAC.  


Company: Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre Ltd
HKGCC Membership No.: HKH0858
Established: 1998

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