China’s two state-owned Chinese aviation conglomerates are stepping up their efforts to make general aviation aircraft.
The country’s flying schools, for example, have been importing a significant number of trainer aircraft but currently Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) I makes no general aviation aircraft and, in terms of general aviation aircraft for flying schools, AVIC II only has the LE-500 Little Eagle.
AVIC I executive VP Hu Wenming says AVIC I has just established a general aviation aircraft department.
“We are currently in the study and research” phase, he says.
“Actually we think the biggest market for general aviation aircraft is the USA”, says Hu, adding that this will be AVIC’s first target market.
But Hu says AVIC I anticipates longer-term Chinese regulators will open up more airspace for general aviation so AVIC I “thinks China will be an important part of our [general aviation sales] strategy longer-term …so we have to” start making general aviation aircraft “to prepare for this bigger future”.
He says even though AVIC I currently makes no general aviation aircraft, it has the capability to and he adds it was AVIC I’s First Aircraft Design unit that designed the LE-500 Little Eagle that is today manufactured by AVIC II’s Shijiazhuang Aircraft Industries.
AVIC II is also planning to make a major push into general aviation.
President of AVIC II, Zhang Hongbiao, says AVIC II plans to bring together its subsidiaries Harbin Aircraft and Shijiazhuang Aircraft Industries.
Zhang says these two will have the lead role in AVIC II for development of regional and general aviation aircraft.
“In the proper time we will unite Shijiazhuang Aircraft with Harbin Aircraft. Shijiazhuang will be the base for production of general aviation aircraft and Harbin Aircraft will play a role as the design base for general aviation.”
AVIC II subsidiary “Hongdu Aviation Industry has a certain capability in agriculture aircraft…so Hongdu could buy some shares and enter into this new scheme of company”, says Zhang.
Harbin Aircraft has the capability to design general aviation aircraft because it designed the Harbin Y-12, a 19-seat turboprop that has received EASA and US FAA certification and been exported overseas, he adds.
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