Aviation Recession Hits China?
The bizjet sector is the bright spot for Chinese civil aviation but (relatively) tough times are ahead as China continues to cope with lessened demand for its products. Reporting from the Beijing International Business Aviation Show, China Daily reported that a senior government official was praising the importance of business aviation to the overall industry. "The growth of business aviation is faster than that of other civil aviation sectors, including passenger and freight transport," said Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Companies interviewed by the newspaper said they expect the growth of their businesses to be cut in half in the coming year but they're still expecting upward of 20 percent growth. The regulatory structure needed to accommodate meaningful growth, particularly for more grassroots aviation, is lagging, however.
At the same event, the newspaper reported that low-altitude airspace reform is at least three years away in some areas and won't be adopted country-wide until 2020. Airspace in China is tightly controlled by the military, and non-scheduled civil aviation activity is a time-consuming bureaucratic exercise. It was previously reported that airspace liberalization for privately owned aircraft was imminent and the comments at the convention by Du Qiang, deputy secretary of the National Air Management Traffic Committee, appear to signal a delay in that initiative.