AVIC plans to develop a CNY20 billion ($3.2 billion) general aviation base in the country’s central Hubei province.

The development will cover 30 square km in Jingmen City, says a report in state newspaper China Daily. The work will be completed in eight years.

“AVIC will build 50 such complexes across China to cover 90% of the country’s population in order to build a national light aircraft operation network,” says Avic chairman Lin Zuoming.

The base will focus on building aircraft, research, and training.

In recent years, China has shown an increasing interest in general aviation. In 2011, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) created a stare when it purchased US manufacturer Cirrus, and 2013 saw the Meijing Group purchase Mooney for $100 million.

Other western GA companies acquired by Chinese firms include Glaser Aviation, Xtreme, Enstrom Helicopter, Epic Aircraft, Walter Extra, Teledyne Continental Motors, Superior Airparts, and Thielert Aircraft Engines.

The country’s airspace, however, remains tightly controlled by the nation’s military, and progress toward greater leniency in areas such a flight planning are slow.

Source: FlightGlobal.com