General aviation has big potential of development in China as the current general aviation services can not meet the soaring demand from many sectors, said a Chinese engineering expert.
"The development of general aviation in China has lagged behind fast economic growth," said Liu Daxiang, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
He said police, traffic, forestry and firefighting departments, news media and many other sectors need general aviation services to better fulfill their jobs.
Road accidents killed 98,738 people in China in 2005. "If helicopters had been used in emergency rescue operations, more than 10,000 people could have been saved," Liu said.
"General aviation will be particularly useful in security work, traffic control, organization of events and medical assistance during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing," said Liu, who is also a deputy to the National People's Congress, the national legislature.
Liu said China had only 335 general-purpose planes in 2002, while the United States had 206,530 in 2000.
He called on the government to promulgate policies to support the development of general aviation as soon as possible, predicting that general aviation will become a new field of economic growth in China.
(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2006)