Last November’s Airshow China in Zhuhai proved both illuminating and encouraging to those who eagerly anticipate the long-awaited emergence of business and general aviation in the People’s Republic. Because, despite all the fuss about China’s potential, the hard data paints the real picture of a sector of aviation that has just barely begun to taxi from the stand.
Aviation industry in China
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has selected Pratt & Whitney to form a partnership that will offer executive leadership training programs for Chinese airlines, CAAC management and those in maintenance, repair and overhaul.
With a firm launch customer in hand and fourth test aircraft ready to take flight, China’s ARJ21 program appears to have found its stride just ahead of this year’s Singapore Airshow. As the show approached, the first three flying test beds, assembled by Comac subsidiary Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Co. (SAMC), had flown some 220 hours over the course of 69 flight days.
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.
Chinese airlines expect to take delivery of 241 aircraft this year, including 16 delayed deliveries from last year, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Although leases on 43 airplanes are expected to expire this year, available seats will increase by 16 percent with the addition of the new deliveries, CAAC said.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration is organizing an aerospace supplier development mission to China from October 26 to November 4. The goals of the trip are to introduce U.S. aviation components and materials companies to the aviation industry in China, including policy makers, U.S. aviation-related companies active in China, Chinese companies engaged in building their domestic aviation capabilities, and MROs.
Foreign business aircraft operators are enjoying somewhat easier access to Chinese airspace, at least between the country’s major cities. Over the past 12 months, the management of airspace between the capital, Beijing, and the major east coast business cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou has been transferred from military to civil controllers and this has roughly halved the amount of time needed to get airways slots.
In a recent speech on global harmonization, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey summed up the universal reaction to China’s booming aviation industry: “The world is watching.”
SR Technics (Stand A726) is moving to establish a presence on the Chinese mainland. In recent months the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Okay Airways to form a maintenance joint venture at Tianjin, concluded a joint venture agreement with the Shanghai Foreign Aviation Service Corp. (Shanghai FASCO) and established an Asia/Pacific advisory board (APAB).
Twenty students from China’s Air Traffic Management Bureau (ATMB) completed six months of U.S. training late last month and are returning home to put their new knowledge to work in that nation’s emerging civilian ATC system. The FAA and Chinese government initiated the program with the goal of training future leaders of China’s Air Traffic Management Bureau.
- Page 2