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Private Aviation Expands In China

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The ninth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition opened in Zhuhai on Tuesday, as the country continues to work toward opening its airspace to private fliers by 2020. GE said the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. has selected GE's new H85 turboprop engine to power the Primus 150, a six-seat, pressurized single-engine airplane with a carbon-fiber composite airframe. It will be the first business aircraft manufactured in China, according to GE. Also at the show, Piaggio delivered its first P.180 Avanti II turboprop to a Chinese customer. The twin turboprop will be operated as part of a private aircraft club program. CubCrafters also announced that their Top Cub two-seat backcountry airplane is now certified for sales and operations in China.

Business users are currently leading aviation growth in China, according to China Daily, and helicopters and business jets are the most popular general-aviation aircraft. Embraer executives said at the show their analysis predicts a demand for 650 business aircraft in China by 2022, with a value of $24 billion. "China is a rapidly growing global executive aviation market with its economic development, the gradual opening of low-altitude airspace and the continuous improvement of its aviation infrastructure," said Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer Executive Jets. Currently there are about 1,200 general aviation aircraft in China, according to China Daily. The Zhuhai airshow has been held every other year since 1996.

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