The Chinese government is rolling out a two-year pilot project designed to expand general aviation across four regions in China, including some of the more populated areas. Announced by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the plan involves efforts to improve efficiency, services and regulations in the Northeastern, Eastern, Northwest and Xinjiang regions.
“Efforts must be made to break through the current operation modes, consolidate and streamline flows, build a system-wide platform, improve management service, make innovations and allow mistakes, so as to achieve outcomes that can be copied and popularized,” CAAC said.
In the Northeast region, officials will work to simplify the business license process, regulatory oversight for non-commercial activities and security requirements for general aviation airports. The plan in this region also includes adding general aviation airports and fee policies that are specific to general aviation, as well as changing the agency's evaluation of non-commercial general aviation accident and incident safety data.
In the Eastern region, the pilot project would establish a general aviation service platform, including network support and extended services, as well as develop administration offices to provide integrated government services. Additionally, the plan focuses on expansion of drones with research and flight test initiatives, including a specified zone for test-flight-based equipment with ground-based surveillance.
In the Northwest, the plan would introduce surveillance and service capabilities for low altitudes, integrating civilian and military information and control measures. And in the Xinjiang region, the plan also targets bolstering tourism, permitting air-tour operations over a 40-km (nearly 25 miles) radius with CAAC authorization.
“This is a very encouraging move from the CAAC and one that will benefit the business and general aviation industries in Greater China,” said Kevin Wu, Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) vice chairman. The association hailed the plan for building on its long-term efforts to foster the development of business and general aviation throughout Greater China.
“From this announcement we expect to see further cooperation between associations like AsBAA…and CAAC with a view to working together in simplifying regulatory oversight and creating win-win outcomes for the private and public sectors.”
The plan marks the latest step by Chinese authorities to boost the sector as it slowly frees up airspace and eases operating restrictions. General aviation has remained a key goal in its “five-year plans,” with the most recent target, according to the CAAC, “to vigorously promote the development of general aviation by building more infrastructure, putting in place a standard system, continuously improving the operating environment and expanding service areas.”
Earlier this month, CAAC outlined the targets of the 13th five-year plan for more than 500 general airports and 5,000 general aviation aircraft, with the total flight hours reaching 2 million.