Glasair's new owner, Fang Tieji, says he has major expansion plans for the new brand beyond experimental and certified aircraft. Glasair and Fang, chairman of the Jilin Hanxing Group based in northeastern China, announced the acquisition of all of Glasair's kit plane assets on 20 July.
Glasair has three lines of experimental category aircraft - the Glasair, Glastar and Sportsman - of which approximately 3,000 have been built or are being built worldwide. The new company, Glasair Aviation, plans to certify the Sportsman design as well as to acquire and consolidate "additional airframe designs and other aviation related companies".
Fang - who says he was the first private individual to open a fixed base operator (FBO) business in China - plans to open 40 new FBOs in the next 10 years under the Glasair Aviation banner.
"We will fulfil our dreams of having private jets flying all over China," Fang said through an interpreter at the AirVenture show on 23 July. "FBOs in the US are state of the art with respect to culture and business models. [I] have learned a lot and will incorporate that knowledge into China FBOs."
Fang says the Chinese government, in addition to opening 1,000 airports in the next five years, will also increasingly open up airspace for private aviation.
While progress is occurring, sales revenue for general aviation will take several years to materialise. According to Tim Archer, group chief executive with Superior Aviation, the China-based company that is negotiating to purchase Hawker Beechcraft, it will be about five years before the general aviation market will ramp up in China. In addition to opening airports and airspace, he says there are challenges with putting regulation in place and addressing safety concerns.