Diamond's On The Ground Floor In China

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Chinese officials are predicting general aviation will be worth $9 billion annually there in 10 years and western companies are now establishing ground-floor opportunities there. Diamond Aircraft, in partnership with Binzhou Degao General Aviation Co. in East China's Shandong Province, is set to start building DA40 aircraft with the first one rolling off the assembly line in October. The $200,000 USD aircraft are aimed at the burgeoning class of high income earners in China resulting from its economic revolution and it's not only piston singles that these folks are interested in, according to the China Daily. The news service quotes anonymous "insiders" who claim that the number of bizjets will increase from about 20 now to more than 600 in 10 years. "There are more private jets in the greater Los Angeles area than in the whole of China at the moment, but we expect it to be fast growing," said David Dixon, the regional representative for Bombardier Aerospace. Of course, for all this to come about, there must be training available and so far Beijing PanAm International Aviation Academy is the only authorized private flight school. Although private licenses have been authorized since 1996, there are only 130 private pilots in China.