AOPA China Summit: An Earful For Government
Parallel to AOPA Summit in Hartford last week, AOPA China held its own first summit in Beijing last week. More than 400 people attended the two-day event. This year's AOPA China Summit was in the form of convention and focused on the mission of providing prime opportunities for dialogues and networking among the Chinese government, general aviation organizations and industry members worldwide. Officials from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Air Traffic Management Bureau (ATMB), Beijing City Government as well as a number of provincial governments joined the convention and heard a straightforward message from Feng Zhang, Deputy Director General of AOPA China. "The nation's airspace is a public domain," Zhang said in his speech. "Therefore our government should relax its control to allow the general public access to their own sky. It is the authorities' duty to assist the people with better utilizing our airspace by introducing favorable regulations, building infrastructure and reducing taxes on aircraft purchases, etc." John Sheehan, IAOPA's Secretary General, said he was impressed by Zhang's direct and blunt public message. Mr. Wei Dai, Deputy Secretary General of the Beijing City Government, revealed the city's comprehensive plan to develop GA in the next five to ten years. He anticipated the city's GA industry to reach a scale of U.S. $50 billion within that time frame. A series of private meetings were held for key individuals. The Deputy Mayor of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, expressed their city's strong interest in general aviation to Sheehan during one such meetings. Officials from CAAC's Flight Standard Office commented to Mr. Sheehan that they would like to learn and borrow from western experience to assist the government's GA planning. They also stated that CAAC needed AOPA China as a strategic partner for every step of the nation's GA development.