April 2, 2014

Changes in Japanese aviation regulations, which benefit business aviation both at home and abroad, are a positive step, according to Kurt Edwards, director general of the International Business Aviation Council.

“Japan is open for business aviation,” he added.

One change implemented by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau over the past year allows international on-demand charter operators to fly between domestic destinations within Japan so long as they meet certain criteria. Chief among them, the flights must have the same passengers on the domestic legs as they do on international legs of the trip.

“That’s a big step for the Japanese,” Edwards observed.

Previously, passengers arriving on charter flights from the U.S. and other international points of origin would have to land, deplane, and then board a Japanese aircraft or other mode of transportation for their domestic journeys.

“That shows Japan is coming around to a greater level of flexibility,” Edwards said.

Japan is keen to respond to business aviation competition springing up in other countries within the region, most notably China, according to Edwards.

The new Japanese regulations went into effect last fall. They also “establish comprehensive operating requirements for charter flights in business aviation by small jet aircraft… based on reviewing conventional operating requirements for air transportation operations and securing transportation safety by using U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations Part 135 as a reference,” according to a statement by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).

“It’s a bold statement by the Japanese that they recognize the value business aviation brings to their economy,” Edwards said. “People are coming to establish and grow business, to make deals. They’re providing a major stimulus to the economy.” Edwards credits the efforts of the Japanese Business Aviation Association in helping secure these regulatory improvements.

Aviation in general suffered a downturn in Japan in the wake of the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to Edwards. Against that backdrop, he said the JCAB realized the importance of revamping the country’s regulations when it comes to business aviation operations.

The next step is marketing, he said.

“The Japanese authorities have been to NBAA Conventions over the past several years, trying to show that they want to welcome more business activity,” Edwards said. “They were, and will be at ABACE, (the Asia Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition) and even sent a delegation to EBACE (the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition) last year. These are very real indications of a rising interest in bringing more business aviation to Japan.”