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Asian Sky Forum 2024

Seaplane Asia CEO, Mr. Dennis Keller, and CFO, Mr. Schalk van der Westhuizen

The recent Asian Sky Forum, held from June 26-27 in Jakarta, Indonesia, brought together aviation industry leaders from across the region. This prestigious event offered a platform for insightful discussions and networking opportunities among prominent aviation executives. Our holding entity, Seaplane Asia, was proudly represented by the CEO, Mr. Dennis Keller, and CFO, Mr. Schalk van der Westhuizen.

The Indochina Panel — A Big Growth Opportunity

Indochina, one of the fastest-growing subregions in Asia-Pacific, was a focal point at the forum. The panel, moderated by Matthieu Guisolphe from Asian Sky Group, included Philippe Leysen, CCO of MJets, and Aljoscha Subasinghe from Asia Flight Services alongside our CEO, Dennis Keller.

Key takeaways from the panel centered around a few topics, such as rapid growth drivers: Factors such as a booming tourism industry, infrastructure investments, and a growing middle class are propelling the region's expansion. Seaplane Asia sees significant potential in promoting the Indochina region at large, including lesser-known destinations for international tourists, such as Khao Yai or Khao Sok in Thailand, or the numerous private island resorts and glamping destinations in Cambodia. Another topic was aircraft market trends: the panelists noted that there is increasing demand for business and private jets and regional aircraft like the Cessna Caravan, which Seaplane Asia plans to deploy extensively to enhance connectivity, including for land and water accessibility. 

At the same time, regulatory challenges were mentioned: while regulators in Indochina are generally open to dialogue, the industry still faces complexities due to limited resources and many procedural delays. Seaplane Asia fosters cooperative relationships and offers expertise, including from experienced foreign partner operators and other regulators, to navigate these challenges effectively. Lastly, our CEO was asked about the market potential for seaplane services in Indochina —

Dennis stated, “The unique geography of Indochina and beyond, across Southeast Asia, offers vast opportunities for amphibious seaplane operations, with potential growth in both coastal and inland areas. While some markets, such as Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines may be obvious to most, we also see great opportunities in smaller markets such as Cambodia and Laos.”

From left to right — Matthieu Guisolphe, moderator, Philippe Leysen, CCO of MJets, Dennis Keller, CEO of Seaplane Asia, and Aljoscha Subasinghe, Asia Flight Services

Conference Highlights and Observations

Beyond the Indochina panel, the Asian Sky Forum featured a comprehensive agenda covering critical topics in the aviation sector for wider Southeast Asia. Here are some key sessions and takeaways:

Indonesia’s Business Aviation Market — This session provided an in-depth look at the major players, available airports, and regulatory frameworks in Indonesia, offering valuable insights for businesses looking to expand in the region.

Aircraft Registries — A comparative analysis of local and offshore registry options highlighted the benefits and challenges of each, helping operators make informed decisions on where to register their aircraft.

Advanced Air Mobility — Innovations in advanced air mobility were discussed, with a focus on the potential and challenges in Southeast Asia. The session underscored the region’s role in driving the future of air transport. Many unknowns remain, while regulators such as the DGCA Indonesia highlighted a clear pathway of interest for type certification for EVTOL and other new types of aircraft.

Maintenance Programs — A detailed review of various maintenance services and preventive measures aimed at keeping the region’s business aircraft in optimal condition was presented, emphasizing the importance of regular and thorough maintenance.

Grey Charters — The issue of illegal charters was brought up numerous times, with a call to adhere to regulations to ensure industry sustainability. The Chief Executive of a prominent business jet operator succinctly stated, “Do it right, or we all won’t have business anymore in the future.”

Insights and Future Directions

The forum provided a dynamic platform for discussing the future of aviation in Asia-Pacific. Seaplane Asia is excited about the future of aviation in Southeast Asia and remains committed to pioneering innovative amphibious seaplane services that unlock the region's hidden potential. We look forward to contributing to and benefiting from the dynamic growth trajectory of the region’s aviation industry.

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