More and more Chinese people can afford a private plane, given
its moderate 2 million yuan price tag, close to that of a
limousine. An insider of aviation industry told the press at the
Sixth China Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, which
concluded on November 5. It is estimated that about 1,000 private
plane are needed every year.
Under the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), China will
gradually open its airspace below 600 meters in five to ten years,
creating a huge market for general planes, and private planes in
particular, said Wang Yijun, the general manager of marketing of
Beijing PanAm International Aviation Academy.
"The DA 40, produced by Diamond Aircraft, is priced at around 2
million yuan, as much as a limousine," Wang added. Based on this
equation, Diamond Aircraft is optimistic about China's private
As the world's second largest general plane manufacturer,
Diamond Aircraft has revealed its plan to produce its best selling
planes in China. Shandong Bin Ao Aircraft Industries Co., a joint
venture set up by Diamond Aircraft in east China's Shandong Province, is going to mass-produce
the DA40 since late November. The first producing scale stands at
500 planes, 200 of which will be on sale in European and American
markets. Meanwhile, the joint venture will undertake orders from
China as well as other Asian and Pacific countries. Diamond
Aircraft also plans to produce another plane -- the
DA42 -- in Shandong.
At the air show, some plane manufacturers pointed out that a
lack of pilots has created a bottleneck in China's civil aviation
development. "A shortage of pilots has impeded the exploitation of
sub-airlines in China," said Wang Jialin, the sales manager of
Bombardier Regional Aircraft (Greater China).
Li Zhiyun, director of Beijing PanAm International Aviation
Academy, views the situation of pilot shortage as a business
opportunity, mentioning that the current civil aviation market
needs 2,500 pilots every year, compared to only 1,500 pilots
graduating annually from PanAm and the Civil Aviation Flight
University of China (CAFUC).
The shortage has spurred the increase of pilot training schools.
Apart from PanAm, there are two to three similar pilot training
schools preparing to open.
"The training fee is 600,000 yuan in our school. Upon
graduation, trainees will receive the fundamental business flight
license," said Wang Yijun. He stated that the training school
admits two types of trainees. Usually, airline companies entrust
the school to train pilots, which is carried out under an agreement
signed by company, school and trainee. They will then leave the
school as elementary pilots and receive further training in the
company. The other type consists of private pilots. Anybody aged
between 18 and 60 can apply for flight training in the school as
long as they reach the physical standard set by the CAAC. "Of
course, private pilots account for quite a small percentage
currently, but I am sure the number will increase rapidly," said
(Chinanews.com, translated by Huang Shan for China.org.cn,
November 9, 2006)