City Of Wichita Establishes Beijing Office

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Citing the need to forge closer links with China’s small but growing aviation market, Wichita, Kansas, mayor Carl Brewer announced yesterday his city has opened an office in the Chinese capital. “We have 90 years of experience in aviation, and we think we can show our Chinese partners how to do some of the things we’ve learned. More importantly, we want to connect our businesses together.” AVweb interviewed Brewer and Shanghai-based William J. Shultz of Cessna Aircraft Company at the Chinese International General Aviation Convention in Xi’an, China.

Xi’an is considered Wichita’s counterpart. Flight test and aeronautical engineering are conducted in this central China location. A branch of the Chinese government aeronautical group AVIC, which owns Cirrus, Continental Motors and other U.S. brands, is also located in Xi’an. Brewer said Wichita is known not only for large airframers like Cessna and Beechcraft, but also for small parts suppliers and maintenance companies, which will also benefit from closer Chinese ties.

Cessna’s Shultz indicated Chinese government restrictions on aviation are being “relaxed,” and he believes the market could grow rapidly. “There is extreme demand for general aviation in China and Cessna wants to be a part of that,” Shultz said. Cessna’s experience in China is unique in trans-global manufacturing. The company’s skilled Wichita-based workforce builds parts and ship-sets and sends these American-made goods to the Chinese cities of Shihjiazhuang and Zhuhai for final assembly. Cessna is producing 208 Caravans in this manner, and conducted a Caravan operators conference in Xi’an during the general aviation convention. Currently there are 40 Caravans flying in China, eight on amphibious floats.

Click here for video of our conversations with Schultz and Mayor Brewer at CIGAC.