China Lays Out Its GA Plan

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The recent buying spree of U.S. aviation companies by the Chinese appears to be a coordinated effort to ensure the country cashes in on the phased liberalization of airspace restrictions. People's Daily, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, reported on Tuesday that state-owned AVIC International Holding Corporation recently completed its acquisition of Mobile, Ala.-based Teledyne Continental Motors and the purchase "will make AVIC International better prepared for the burgeoning general aviation market in the country." It also touts the pending sale of Cirrus Aircraft to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company (CAIGA) "will greatly enhance CAIGA's production capacity, and help it meet the surging demand for general aviation aircraft as China looks to further open up its low-altitude airspace." It's worth noting that CAIGA was formed in May of 2010, not long before reports began circulating that Cirrus was being sold to the Chinese. The deal was formally announced Feb. 28 and must still be approved by U.S. regulators.

People's Daily unveiled the timeline for the opening up of low-level airspace in China. It quotes Li Jiaxiang, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, as saying the plan is to phase in the airspace liberalization and have all airspace below 3,000 meters open by 2015. The plan was laid out pretty clearly in the story. "The development of the whole industry will be accelerated through cooperating with foreign companies and introducing advanced technologies to develop China's own products and intellectual property rights," said Wang Xia, deputy president of the General Aviation College under the Civil Aviation University of China. "As foreign companies have limited knowledge of the domestic general aviation policies and operating system, domestic enterprises still have certain advantages. However, the advantages are temporary. We must advance with the times and continue to develop to maintain this advantage."