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China's general aviation sector prepares to take off

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, November 19, 2012
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One of priorities in China's current five-year plan is to promote the general aviation industry. Domestic and foreign companies are expecting more business opportunities. At the 2012 Airshow China that concludes today, our reporter Yin Hang takes a look at how China's general aviation sector is preparing to take off.

General aviation covers all the civil aviation operations other than passenger air transport services. This includes gliders, powered parachutes, jet planes and helicopters which can be used to carry out police aviation, air ambulance, or flight training in the sector.

China, a country with a population of of over 1.3 billion, owns only around 1,000 general aircraft. By way of comparison, the US has only a fourth of its population, but 230 times more general aviation aicraft.

As China pledges more reforms in the airspace management sector, foreign companies are setting their sighst on China's domestic market.

Ted Farid, Senior VP of Int'l Sales of Hawker Beechcraft, said, "The demand, in my opinion, will be unlimited. First of all, I've been coming into China since for the last 33 years. And I've seen the changes that have taken place. What initially happen was China developed their airlines industry. And every airport was built with large….And China, we all know, is going through reforms in the sector, so hopefully the airspace will be opened up. Once the airspace opens up for smaller airplanes, the demand will automatically pick up."

The development of China's general aviation sector is lagging, but experts expect the reform of regulations on low altitude airspace to speed up before 2015.

Meanwhile, China's domestic general aviation aircraft makers are also on the move. Some of them have taken iniatives and to gain more market shares in the sector.

BinAo Aircraft is a Shandong-based aircraft maker. Through partnership with Austrian-based Diamond Aircraft, its general aviation aircraft sold in China have gained popularity. At the airshow this year, Binao received 34 more orders.

Zhong Ge, Executive General Manager of Shandong Binao Aircraft Industries, said,“Our successful sales record comes from several factors. First, we stick to strict rules to ensure standard and quality of our products. We use lighter but stronger materials that cut fuel consumption. And we use three navigation systems that enhance security. Finally, we also pay attention to our after sales services.”

But some observers believe the general aviation industry is unlikely to develop quickly, as more airports and qualified pilots are still needed. The construction and training of which take time.

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