Reforms called for in general aviation sector

Updated: 2011-11-30 14:21


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ZHUHAI - Large-scale development in China's general aviation industry requires deep reforms in both regulations and business models, said authorities with the EU-China Civil Aviation Project (EUCCAP) on Wednesday in Zhuhai, a city in south China's Guangdong province.

With the country's policy signalling a boost for its general aviation industry, there is an urgent need to readjust its airspace and aviation safety management modes to suit booming social demand, said Frederic Campagnac, EUCCAP team leader.

Gaps in specific rules in accordance with general aviation industry standards, such as the construction and management of airports, airstrips and other infrastructures, are still waiting to be filled, he added.

Campagnac made the remark at an ongoing workshop which aims to introduce the general aviation sector of the European Union to about 100 of China's aviation specialists from November 22 to December 1 in both Zhuhai and Beijing.

The workshop will contribute to the design of future EU-China cooperation activities in this field, he said.

The workshop will focus on topics regarding regulations, aerodromes and air traffic management, as well as safety, maintenance and operations for aircraft and helicopters in the general aviation sector.

China has listed the general aviation sector as one of the country's emerging strategic industries and has provided a favorable environment for its development.

The State Council, or China's Cabinet, and the Central Military Commission jointly released an order last year to open up part of the country's low-altitude airspace for the first time.

The central government said in its 12th Five-Year Plan for the 2011-2015 period that it will promote the general aviation industry's development, reform the airspace management system and enhance the efficiency of the allocation and utilization of airspace resources.

"The 12th National Five-Year Plan raised a clear proposal to actively propel the development of the general aviation industry," said Meng Ping, director general of the National Defense Committee Office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Drawing lessons from the EU's experiences and obstacles it has encountered will help China avoid detours and jump directly to the most effective development patterns in the general aviation sector, he added.

At the end of 2010, China counted just over 1,000 aircraft and 1,700 pilots in the general aviation sector. Meanwhile, the EU had 22,000 general aviation aircraft and 90,000 general aviation pilots, not including ultralight aircraft and glider activities.

EUCCAP is a three-year, 3.7-million-euro project jointly funded by the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China and the European Union, along with the CAAC.