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General aviation to become next economic engine in China


10:08, October 20, 2011

XI'AN, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The general aviation aircraft industry is becoming the next driver of the Chinese economy, according to officials and experts.

"China's economy has had different engines boosting its development in different periods. At first, it was home appliances, then it was cars, but now the general aviation industry's time is coming," said Jin Qiansheng, an official with the Yanliang National Aviation High-tech Industrial Base in Xi'an, capital city of northwest Shaanxi Province.

Jin made the remarks at the International General Aviation Convention in Xi'an that ended earlier this week. A total of 35 investment contracts totaling 9.6 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S.dollars) were clinched during the five-day convention.

China's civil aviation authorities have estimated that by 2020 the country will need more than 9,000 aircraft in the general aviation field. Related industries, led by the booming general aviation industry, will add a huge market valued about 60 billion yuan.

General aviation refers to flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial.

"The general aviation industry has a longer industrial chain which could create more job opportunities and government revenue compared to the car and real estate industries," said Gao Yuanyang, a professor with the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"In the long run, its contribution to China's economy will grow significantly -- just like it has in the United States, which currently has 230,000 general aviation aircraft contributing 150 billion U.S. dollars to its economy every year," Gao added.

The main task facing the industry is the exploration of its full potential, said Xia Qunlin, vice president of China National Helicopter Corporation.

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