Recognizing its potential to become a major industry player, China is finally moving toward greater liberalization of its aviation sector. The announcement followed on the heels of the Third Plenary Session held in November 2013. It was during this time that China’s new leaders, alongside the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), committed to a series of reforms geared to loosen the regulatory grip that has significantly hindered industry growth. Now, eight months later, signs of change are on the horizon.
China Southern Airlines
U.S. airlines reported net profit of $12.7 billion in 2013, improving from $98 million the previous year, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported on May 5. This was the fourth consecutive year the industry reported net profits to the government.
The Chinese airline industry is attracting scores of South American pilots who see far better opportunity for career advancement with fast growing and startup airlines in the People’s Republic than in their home countries.
Congestion at China’s three major international airports–Beijing Capital, Shanghai Pudong and Guangzhou Baiyun–has quashed Xiamen Airlines’ plans to offer long-haul nonstop flights from the People’s Republic using Boeing 787s starting next August. Increasing demand for slots from foreign airlines and China’s four big carriers to operate point-to-point services from the three big airports leaves smaller carriers such as Xiamen no choice but to look at other Chinese cities as ports of entry into China.
Airbus and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Air Traffic Management Bureau signed an agreement to cooperate on modernizing China’s air traffic management (ATM) system with the goal of improving air transport capacity and efficiency. Led by Airbus’s ProSky ATM subsidiary, the ATM initiative accompanies a broader collaboration between Airbus and the CAAC on aviation safety, a five-year extension of which the parties announced last Friday.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has asked GE Aviation to expand required navigation performance (RNP) at China’s Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport. The program, which is intended to simplify pilot and controller workload, will include seven more airlines and extend RNP capability to the mountainous airport’s instrument landing system (ILS).
Boeing says it has finished installing a battery system modification on the first 50 delivered 787 Dreamliners that were grounded pending the retrofit. Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing, made the announcement in a blog post on May 29, reporting that all eight current 787 operators expect to return their Dreamliners to service within days and “we can’t thank all of them enough for their patience, partnership and support” during the grounding of more than three months.
With deliveries of Boeing’s 787 suspended pending an FAA review prompted by a string of technical problems, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has still not completed certification of the new widebody.
Flight training group CAE is big and getting bigger in the growing Asian market, according to Jeff Roberts, group president of civil simulation products, training and services. The Canadian company has 16 training locations in the Asia Pacific region, and 16 of the 30 full-flight simulators sold in the current financial year (which ends next month) will earn their keep in the region–a clear indication that this part of the world has a healthy appetite for training aviation professionals.
Stung by development delays and now intent on shifting its emphasis from long-haul to regional and domestic services, China Eastern Airlines on October 17 announced a decision to cancel orders for 24 Boeing 787s in favor of a new order for 45 Boeing 737NGs.
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