Piper Aircraft announced a substantial fleet order today for 50 Archers from China Air Shuttle, the aircraft manufacturer’s dealer in China. China Air Shuttle will begin to take delivery of these airplanes in the second quarter and then distribute them to major flight schools and general aviation companies in China. At list prices, the deal is worth approximately $17.6 million.
Ruixiang Flight Academy is the launch customer for the Archer fleet order, according to China Air Shuttle chairman Li Chen. Ruixiang also took delivery of two Piper Seminoles last year and currently operates the multi-engine trainers in its ab initio flight training program.
The Archers going to China Air Shuttle will be manufactured at Piper’s Vero Beach, Florida factory and then shipped to China, where they will be reassembled by China Air Shuttle's affiliate company in Rizhao, Shandong Province. The facilities in Rizhao will be developed into a localized delivery center for aircraft reassembly, training, maintenance and product support for Chinese customers.
China Air Shuttle also intends to order and stock more trainers to meet the fast-growing flight training market in China. The high demand for pilots—along with the Civil Aviation Authority of China's move to accommodate general aviation and improve infrastructure—is expected to lead to growth of general and business aviation in the country.