China And Russia Launch GA Venture

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Companies from China and Russia have teamed up to build their own line of general aviation aircraft ranging from four to 12 seats, Xinhua reported this week. China Oriental Sciences Group, China-Russia International Investment Company and KB-SAT, a Russian aircraft design company, signed an agreement last week in Beijing, according to Xinhua. The consortium will invest $1.27 billion to build a manufacturing facility this year in China's Inner Mongolia region. The group expects to start producing airplanes early next year, and produce 400 airplanes a year by 2016. "China's general aviation industry is at its initial stage of development, and the market demand is huge," said Zhuang Zhong, president of China Oriental Sciences Group, which is based in Beijing.

The consortium also plans to build a research facility, a pilot training base, and a flying club at the site in Ordos. China has been moving forward with plans to open up more airspace to GA flights and create more GA infrastructure, including building more airports. The country also has shown a strong interest in acquiring GA companies, buying up Cirrus, Teledyne Continental Motors, and several smaller manufacturers in recent years.