China Looks to the Future, and the Future Is Biz

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The next frontier ... the brave, new land for bizjet makers could soon be opening up in a big way. Business jet manufacturers are readying for China's first international business aviation conference in August, wanting to get in on the ground floor of a predicted aviation boom. There are fewer than 500 commercial aircraft licensed in China, but industry experts believe the as-yet vastly untapped market could be worth many billions of dollars. Gulfstream, Raytheon and Bombardier are just three of the U.S. companies boning up on their Chinese for a trip over the pond. According to The Standard, the Civil Aviation Authority of China says air traffic controllers must be ready to cope with at least 10,000 helicopters and hundreds of private jets as China opens up to general aviation. As good as it sounds, quite a number of things will have to change before bizjet ownership makes sense in China. Currently, private flights into China, even from Hong Kong, officially require 14 days' advance notice to the Chinese aviation authority, vast sections of the country are off-limits to aircraft, and fees charged to fly into the country are steep.