The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has granted Part 145 maintenance approval to ExecuJet Haite Aviation Services China in a move that significantly boosts the country’s still limited maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capability for business aircraft. The joint venture between Switzerland-based ExecuJet Aviation and Tianjin Haite is now cleared to provide support for most Bombardier executive jets.
Aviation industry in China
This year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (Abace) has been a real eye-opener for a Westerner whose last visit to China was in 2003. Shanghai, where Abace 2012 is being held (it ends on March 29) at host airport Hongqiao International, is a beautiful and huge city.
China is facing a chronic shortage of pilots to fly its growing fleet of business aircraft. Moderating an ABACE show seminar on crew training in Shanghai yesterday, consultant Christopher Jackson said the current backlog of orders from China indicates a need for an additional 500 to 1,000 private aviation pilots. He said operators in China typically need a ratio of five pilots per aircraft.
With business aviation in China continuing its upward trajectory, life is getting somewhat more straightforward for this class of aircraft operators according to those most closely involved in trying to help them, namely flight planning and support companies.
Cessna Aircraft is making an aggressive move into Asia with plans to manufacture aircraft in China in partnership with Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic) and the Chengdu provincial government.
The U.S. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is making a return trip to the Asia Pacific region after a lapse of several years, largely due to the global recession that began in 2008. The first Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) was held here in Shanghai back in 2005, followed by shows held between 2006 and 2008 in Hong Kong.
With precious little sign of a meaningful economic recovery in the main Western economies of North America and Europe, the business aviation industry is pursuing growth more intently than ever in the emerging markets of the East. Nowhere epitomizes these expectations quite like China, with its soaring corporate and private wealth.
The EU-China Civil Aviation Project (EUCCAP) held a two-week workshop in Beijing and Zhuhai to introduce Chinese aviation regulators and industry personnel to the European general aviation sector.
The first Shanghai International Business Aviation Show (Sibas) garnered mixed reviews from its exhibitors, but generally the perception was that it was a success, despite teething problems, such as no food on site and some issues with shipping. However, these were offset by the quality of attendees who showed up and the fact that organizer World Events Agency managed to pull off the show at all.
Industry analysts have been declaring China the “next big market” every year since the discussion came around to business aviation in China. Now, as an economic recovery appears to have begun, it seems China is finally fulfilling its promise, and based on activity at Heli-Expo 2011 in March, the helicopter industry is poised to take advantage of demand.
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