Deputies call for aviation law

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China's top legislature should accelerate the introduction of an aviation law to ensure the industry can enjoy sound development and rapid growth, lawmakers suggested.

"An aviation industry is one of the defining factors that determine the world ranking of a country and represents the level of the country's science and technology, industrial capability and military power," said Fan Huitao, a deputy to the 12th National People's Congress and chief designer at the China Airborne Missile Academy.

"According to research findings, each percentage increase in the sales volume of aircraft will in turn produce a 0.7 percentage rise in the national economy, and a high-tech aviation company could benefit 15 other companies in related industries," he told China Daily on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the NPC in Beijing.

Fan's academy is one of China's top defense technology research institutes and belongs to Aviation Industry Corp of China, the nation's biggest aircraft manufacturer.

During the annual session of the national legislature in 2008, deputies from the aviation sector submitted a proposal for an aviation law, he said.

"However, they were told conditions had not matured enough for such a law to be made at that time."

He noted almost every country that has a strong aviation industry has published laws on the sector, citing the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 in the United States and the Brazilian Aeronautical Code as examples of legislation boosting the industry's rapid development.

The scrapping of the ambitious Y-10 project, China's first attempt to develop an indigenous, large jetliner, was caused by divergence between civil aviation authorities and the aircraft manufacturing sector, and the absence of an aviation law, said Hong Jiansheng, another deputy and a senior executive at the AVIC Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group.

"Without a national law regulating the aviation industry, a haphazard decision or shifts in policies will have a huge effect on the industry and slow its development."

The country's air traffic control authorities have drafted an aviation law, but related government departments are still debating a series of issues such as which department should initiate the legislation and the air traffic management mechanism, leading to the legislation being stalled, Legal Daily reported in January.

"We call on the government to treat the aviation industry as a strategically important sector by introducing the aviation law, and we hope the top legislature could find a place for the law in its legislative agenda," said Fan.

In addition to the legislative proposal, lawmakers from the aviation sector also urged the central government to give more support and favorable policies to State-owned defense technology enterprises that are located in remote, underdeveloped areas and haunted with financial difficulties.

During the climax of the Cold War, China constructed or relocated more than 1,100 defense technology institutes and plants to remote, inland regions, and those institutes and plants had made remarkable contributions to the nation's national defense through the sacrifice and devotion of millions of researchers and workers, said Ma Yongsheng, an NPC deputy and chairman of AVIC Aerospace.

"Many such enterprises have been struggling with financial problems, a continuing brain drain as well as heavy burdens from a vast group of retirees and their healthcare costs," he said, noting there are more than 100,000 workers and retirees in about 50 State-owned aviation companies in Guizhou province, and just paying their incomes has inflicted colossal costs for those companies.

"Therefore, we deputies from State-owned defense enterprises submitted a proposal calling for favorable tax and loan policies, special subsidies and measures for attracting talent."


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