Light-aircraft manufacturer Liberty Aerospace confirms reports it will announce an agreement on 10 December to manufacture its two-seat XL2 in China.
The 10-year, $150 million deal is with Anyang Angel Aero Science and Technology Development (3A), a new company 50%-owned by the Beijing government, says Paul Bartlett, Liberty's chief operating officer.
The agreement calls for 3A to invest $300 million in building a facility to manufacture and support "at least 600" XL2s for the domestic Chinese market, principally for use in flight schools. "We are as sure as we can be that the deal is secure," he says.
The contract would be phased, beginning with selling N-registered into China, then exporting aircraft to China for local registration, and eventually moving manufacture there. 3A would build the XL2's composite fuselage and buy in avionics and engines from the USA.
The XL2 is already certificated in China, says Bartlett.
Cessna has announced an agreement with Shenyang Aircraft to manufacture its SkyCatcher light sport aircraft in China, but that deal covers production for all markets. Sikorsky, meanwhile, is transferring subassembly manufacture for its Schweizer 300CBi light helicopter to Changhe Aircraft.
Melbourne, Florida-based Liberty has so far delivered around 90 of the $180,000 XL2s, mainly to US customers inlcuding flights schools, but Bartlett says the bulk of its orderbook is from overseas.