By Liu Jin
In this aviation exhibition, CAIGA displayed 28 planes and models. Qu Jingwen, chairman of CAIGA, told the reporter of Economic Daily, "Based on the technical advantages of AVIC and manufacturing advantages of the whole society, it is predicted that light sport aircraft Lingyan AG50 will occupy more than 30 percent of market."
General aviation was among hot spots of this aviation exhibition. General aviation refers to aviation activities other than military, police and customs anti-smuggling flight and public air transport flight. Since this year, not only national policies have been launched in succession, but provisional, autonomous and municipal general aviation industry development plans for the "13th Five-year Plan" have been issued. Recently, NDRC issued the Key Tasks to Promote the Development of General Aviation Industry in the Recent Period specially to clear a series of key tasks in respect of market cultivation, airport construction, industrial transformation, expanding airspace opening up and strengthening safety supervision and speed up to promote general aviation service support capability.
Compared with that in developed countries, general aviation starts later in China and is smaller in scale. By the end of 2015, there were over 300 general airports, 281 general aviation enterprises and 1,874 registered general aircrafts in China, and the flying time in 2015 reached 732,000 hours. There were, however, about 220,000 general aircrafts, more than 600,000 pilots and 15,000 general airports in America, whose annual operation and flying time exceeded 28 million hours.
In recent years, more and more capital is invested in the general aviation industry by different investment subjects such as financial capital, large state-owned enterprises, private enterprises and foreign-funded enterprises. Minsheng Financial Leasing for example, acquired the operation of business jets of CITIC General Aviation in 2014 to establish Minsheng International Jet Co., Ltd. and add helicopter products for charter. FBO (fixed-base operation), maintenance, airport, FSS (flight service station—security assurance infrastructure essential for the opening of low-altitude airspace) and other industries have also attracted lots of capital, some local governments have also invested in the establishment of general aviation industrial parks.
In this aviation exhibition, general aviation enterprises occupied more than half of the stands and various messages on signing of contract or cooperation could be heard now and then. An insider told the reporter that a large number of social investors had taken a fancy to the potential and profit margins of general aviation market and hoped to get a head start at the beginning of industrial development.
Reignwood Aviation is just an example. Zheng Gang, chairman of Reignwood Aviation, said, "In recent years, the demand for developing general aviation is increasingly strong nationwide, and especially, coastal provinces have great potential in respect of seaplane commuter business and low altitude tourism projects." In this aviation exhibition, Reignwood Aviation made a strategic cooperation agreement with Yinchuan Municipal People's Government and Ningxia Tourism Investment Group to plan to conduct such businesses as low altitude tourism, tourism commuter service and aviation emergency rescue.
The medical rescue market of helicopter is also regarded as "blue sea" by some general aviation enterprises. The KINGWING of Zenisun Group displayed AW119Kx—single-engined light helicopter with medical configuration in the exhibition and laid out a nationwide helicopter rescue service network.
"In America, general aviation enterprises mainly profit from oil drilling platform, medical rescue and other fields, while in China, these demands are just getting started." Ding Hui, president of HNA General Aviation, said which could, to a certain extent, be attributed to the fewer suitable helicopters and less airport and landing point supporting in China.
HNA General Aviation, a brand new module set up by HNA Group in the first half of this year, was also a new growth point that HNA hoped to speed up the expansion. "In the next 5 to 10 years, HNA General Aviation plans to establish, rebuild, merge and acquire 100 general airports, 50 general aviation industrial parks and 5000 general aviation landing points, set up about 30 general aviation companies in all key provinces in China, possess or accept the trusteeship of 500 general aircrafts and develop UAV businesses," said Liu Xin, executive chairman of HNA General Aviation.
Yu Yi, associate professor of the General Aviation Department of CAMIC said that general aviation industry had a huge industrial chain, with an investment stimulating effect of 1:10 generally and an employment promotion ratio of 1:12. Therefore, besides airport construction and aircraft manufacturing, personnel training, equipment manufacturing, operation management and other fields also possess a bright future.