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China Prepares to Open its Skies to the General Aviation Industry; Small Jet Makers to Benefit from Move

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Published on : Dec 27, 2013

As China’s new rich class continues to rise, the sight of super luxury cars on the country’s streets is becoming common. But the ultimate symbol of luxury and power-a private jet-still hasn’t caught up among the country’s affluent because of the right regulatory environment that prevails in China. This is despite the huge appetite for luxury among the rich and powerful here. 


However, with talks of changes in rules that currently govern the civil aviation sector, one might soon see private jets whizzing over the skies of China. If and when it is implemented, this decision would probably be touted as the single largest step in China’s private aviation sector in the last three decades. 


In November 2013, China’s aviation regulator introduced some simplification to the procedures that one needs to clear before being approved for a private aircraft. The agency also lowered the entry requirements that were earlier needed for acquiring a private pilot license. 


And, few people seem to have noticed that the country’s State Council and Central Military Commission had, in 2010, implemented guidelines that will lift the ceiling for low-flying aircraft in a phased manner up to 2020. 


Over the last decade, most aviation majors have invested time and money in a bid to expand their footprint and build a business network in China. These companies-that include names such as Cessna, Bombardier Inc, Dassault Aviation SA, and Gulfstream-could stand to benefit from a massive opportunity here very soon. 


According to officials in the civil aviation sector, these moves by China suggest that the country is now endorsing general aviation and the use of business jets just like other leading countries in the world. In the United States, the general aviation industry is pegged at $150 billion, with over 228,000 registered general aircraft. The current figures in China are a stark contrast as the China General Aviation Association has on record only 1,610 registered general aviation aircraft.


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