Chinese GA Market Goes Airborne

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A rumored coming change in Chinese airspace laws may soon in that country open a new general aviation market. While many GA manufacturers struggle in the U.S. with layoffs and production slowdowns to boot, Shenyang Aircraft Industry Group of China (a major manufacturer of fighter planes for the Chinese military) recently announced it will roll out a light plane this year. The price tag is will likely fall between 500,000 and 600,000 yuan (U.S. $60,241 and U.S. $72,289). The country itself, by some estimates, currently contains about ten privately owned aircraft. Nanjing Light Aircraft Co. Ltd. began to design a five-seat AC-500 plane five years ago and plans to put it on the market early next year. So far, they have received about 30 orders. "As many Chinese entrepreneurs have made a big fortune from their private-owned businesses, small-sized planes are becoming affordable," Wang Linjiang, the company's chief designer and general manager, told the Xinhua news agency. He adds that most of the orders they have taken are "from domestic private companies." Some might wonder how these companies plan to succeed, given China's tightly controlled airspace. Wang doesn't seem to worry, as he was told by "a quite reliable source" that regulations would soon be relaxed, and hopes the changes will help sell 500 private aircraft per year. The Chinese government won't confirm that, but has hinted that its regulations are being reviewed.