China will host the next biennial World Assembly meeting of the International Council of the Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), AOPA announced Friday. Specifics have not yet been set, but the organization is considering later dates in 2014, with details to be resolved "soon." IOAPA is administered through AOPA and is made up of participating affiliates from 71 countries. AOPA says the selection of China "highlights just how important the country has become to the growth of general aviation" and the meeting there can "demonstrate just how vital general aviation can be."
According to AOPA, discussions at the meeting are expected to focus on topics like airspace access and flight rules, user fees, and control services. China has made public its desire to increase the availability of airspace to privately operated aircraft and in December said its government would provide targeted funding to jumpstart GA there. A five-year development plan announced in 2010 to roll out from 2011-2015 included changes to management of low-altitude airspace. Currently, specific regions have been designated as test areas. Success there is expected to lead to more open airspace and aviation reforms. China's State Council estimates that general aviation could increase by roughly 19 percent per year through 2020. Recent past assemblies of IAOPA have been held in South Africa, Israel, Greece, France and Brazil, according to AOPA. Delegates discuss general aviation issues and "take part in aerial activities."