Beechcraft has handed over the first of two King Air 350is to Chinese aviation services company AVIC Hebei General Aviation (HGAC).

The twin-engined turboprop will be based in Shijiazhuang City, in northern China’s Hebei province, and will be the first 350i in the country dedicated to charter services, says the Textron Aviation subsidiary of the American Textron Group which also owns Beechcraft and Cessna.

HGAC has a fleet of 15 propeller-driven aircraft, including nine AVIC Y5/B piston-singles and three Cessna Caravan 208 single-engined turboprops. Its second 350i is scheduled for delivery before the end of the year.

Bill Schultz, Textron Aviation’s senior vice-president of business development, says 350is have until now been typically deployed in a utility role in China. “HGAC's 350i will be the first [in the country] for charter flights and VIP transport tasks," he says. "We are very optimistic about its future market performance,” he adds.

Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database records a fleet of 27 King Air variants in China, including five 350is. Of the total inventory, 18 are used in a corporate/VIP role and the remainder are deployed in a training and special missions capacity, such as mapping and pipeline inspection.

Source: Flight International