China encouraging new local carriers to use Chinese aircraft

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Start-ups wishing to operate Chinese-made aircraft may find it easier to get an air operator's certificate.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced last December it would refrain from granting air operator's certificates (AOC) to start-ups planning to launch in 2009.

But a report today in state-run China Daily, quotes unidentified CAAC officials in Xian, as saying start-ups that plan to operate Chinese-made aircraft will find it easier to get an AOC.

The Chinese-made aircraft cited in the article are Xian Aircraft's MA60 turboprop and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China's ARJ21 regional jet.

Earlier this month Xian Aircraft's parent, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, launched a commercial carrier in Xian called Xingfu Airlines that operates MA60s.

The MA60 is mostly exported because Chinese carriers are generally reluctant to operate Chinese-made aircraft.

But the Chinese Government is known to pressure local carriers to order the local product.

Last December the CAAC tried to limit growth in China's aviation industry because the number of foreign-made aircraft being added had led to a shortage of pilots and skilled engineers.

Other measures announced at the time included encouraging airlines to delay or cancel aircraft due for delivery in 2009, ground some aircraft, and return some aircraft to leasing companies upon expiry of the leases.