China Relaxes Flight Plan Rules for Domestic Operators

 - September 15, 2009, 12:00 PM

The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) last week confirmed that it is relaxing the lead time for flight plan filing from six days to three hours, though only for Chinese-registered business aircraft. According to the CAAC, this includes any B-numbered aircraft, even those registered in Hong Kong and Macau. Additionally, CAAC representatives emphasized that this is only a trial, not a permanent change, intended to test the effects of such short lead times on its flight-plan filing system, which is not yet automated. “They are still working with paper and have a way to go before they are automated,” one source told AIN. If this trial was expanded beyond Chinese-registered aircraft, “There was a feeling that they would have difficulty physically handling all corporate aircraft,” he added. Despite the change applying only to B-numbered aircraft, business aviation trade groups are encouraged by the trial, hoping that it could signal some kind of further opening for general aviation operations in China. Meanwhile, news reports indicate that China could eliminate hefty flight plan filing fees for domestic operators and is even contemplating reducing business aircraft import taxes from 23 percent to 6 percent next year to encourage the use of private jets.