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Newly established AVIC to take over foreign rival
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Newly merged China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) plans to acquire a foreign general aviation aircraft manufacturer to strengthen its development capabilities.

An acquisition agreement is expected to be signed by the end of this year, Tan Weidong, president of AVIC General Aviation Co. Ltd., was quoted as saying by Tuesday's China Daily. Tan did not reveal the name of the foreign company.

AVIC is also planning to list its general aviation businesses in the near future, Tan added.

Tan made the remarks on the sidelines of the China International Aviation & Aerospace Forum 2008, on the eve of the Zhuhai Air Show.

AVIC General Aviation, Tan said, also plans to develop 10-, 20- and 30-seat business jets, as well as turbo-prop hydroplanes in the near future.

AVIC was launched at the end of last month with the merging of China's two leading State-owned aviation manufacturers, AVIC I and AVIC II, amid government endeavors to consolidate and strengthen the country's aviation manufacturing capabilities.

The new firm acts as a parent company, under which six new firms specializing in different businesses were set up to manage AVIC I and AVIC II's various firms and subsidiaries across the country. The six companies are involved in transporters, airplane engines, helicopters, general aviation, airborne systems and aviation imports and exports.

AVIC General Aviation, leading the development of general aviation airplanes in AVIC, mainly manages two companies: China National Guizhou Aviation Industry (Group) Co. Ltd. under AVIC I, and Shijiazhuang Aircraft Industry Co. Ltd. under AVIC II. The former, based in Guizhou province, mainly produces trainers and unmanned aerial vehicles. The latter is located in Hebei province and manufactures light aircraft.

Zhuhai will become the company's general aviation base for research and development, final assembly and test flights, Tan said.

In a related development, China is developing its own large plane. It plans to put the aircraft with at least 150 seats into market by 2020, according to Vice Minister of Industry and IT Miao Wei.

Miao said the large plane will meet safety and comfort standards and will be economical and environmental-friendly.

In years up to 2010, key technology will be developed and concept designing will be completed for the large plane project.

Meanwhile, Miao added, the domestically-developed regional jet ARJ 21 was expected to enter the market in 2009. Efforts to develop lengthened and business models of the regional jet would start next year.

On Tuesday, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. signed contracts on orders for 25 ARJ21-700s with an aircraft leasing arm of the US-based GE. This will be the first time for the China-made regional jets to enter the European and American markets.

(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2008)

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