New Aerotropolis Dedicated to Business Aviation

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06 Nov New Aerotropolis Dedicated to Business Aviation



Chinese based Superior Group are building is an Aerotropolis. An aerotropolis is an urban plan in which the layout, infrastructure, and economy is centered on an airport, existing as an airport city. It is similar in form and function to a traditional metropolis, which contains a central city core and its commuter-linked suburbs. The term was developed by academic and air commerce expert Dr. John D. Kasarda in 2000, based on his prior research on airport-driven economic development.

John Kasarda, is a travelling preacher for the concept of aerotropolis, the idea that a new type of city will and must appear, where “the airport is not at its periphery but at its core”. He combines a professorship at the University of North Carolina with writing books and articles on the subject, with a consultancy advising regional and national governments how to direct their billions to the achievement of their own aerotropolis. 
Superior Group are notorious for there attempt to buy Hawker Beechcraft in 2012, are preparing to build an eight squared kilometre aerotropolis on the outskirts of Beijing dedicated to China’s expanding business and general aviation industry with a 2400m (7800 ft)  runway.
Dedicated exclusively to business and general aviation, the project will cost around $3.2bn and will take 2-3 years to complete.
The executive airport will be tower controlled with ILS and GPS instrument approaches. It will be surrounded by a GA manufacturing center, duty-free zone, exhibition center, living facilities, and a flying club. It will be the model for similar towns the group foresees as China’s GA infrastructure. More importantly, the town is designed to mitigate the differences between Chinese and Western cultures.
Western companies often struggle in marketing their products there because the Chinese buying habits are different from those in the west. The Chinese want flagship western products and  want to buy them under their terms in China. Superior Aviation Town will make that possible. This way a western company would not have to move its whole operation to China. A completion center, with inventory at the duty-free area, would give the Chinese a hand in the airplane’s creation.
Manufacturers would not have to work with the Chinese in a joint venture (unless the western company so desired). To aid efficient certification, the Civil Aviation Authority of China has already agreed to staff an office there, and the Superior group will provide a cadre of technical translators to produce the necessary documents and manuals. And when the airplane is complete, the company showroom would be in the exhibition Center. And the company’s expat managers would reside in the town’s housing area.

The concept of the Aerotropolis is expanding worldwide. Kasarda predicts that in 2030 there will be 13bn passenger journeys a year, compared with 4.9bn in 2010, or that an iPhone 5 is assembled from parts flown in from several countries.As airports grow, argues Kasarda, they become more city-like. The shopping zone of Indianapolis International, he says, “really gives the feeling” of a town square. There are 6,000 weddings a year at Stockholm Arlanda, the Rijksmuseum exhibits art in Amsterdam’s Schiphol, and the London Philharmonic is performing at Heathrow. “If you want to see the future,” he says, “look at the Square” – a sleek, glassy slug in Frankfurt where KPMG has moved some of its operations, on the basis that it is only a few minutes’ walk from workplace to check-in.


Kasarda’s favourite examples of an aerotropolis are Las Colinas, Texas, which is handily placed for Dallas Fort Worth and “hosts four Global Fortune 500 headquarters”, and New Songdo, a development built (with advice from Kasarda) near Incheon airport in South Korea. Also, Dubai, “an airport with an emirate attached”, and Singapore, whose growth has been assisted by its impressive airport.

He shows a plan of an ideal city, with runways at its dead centre and “aerolanes” connecting such things as “E-fulfilment facilities” and a “medical and wellness cluster”. This city is shown as being built on virgin greensward, a site very unlike London, which already has a large number of buildings and services, and people who might resist relocation. Kasarda calls the existing fabric “sunk cost”, which roughly means “money down the drain”, before acknowledging that they might have some value: “You can’t get rid of it, so you have to leverage it as best you can.”

Fabrizio Poli
Aviation Analyst & Managing Partner
Tyrus Wings 




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