Recognizing its potential to become a major industry player, China is finally moving toward greater liberalization of its aviation sector. The announcement followed on the heels of the Third Plenary Session held in November 2013. It was during this time that China’s new leaders, alongside the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), committed to a series of reforms geared to loosen the regulatory grip that has significantly hindered industry growth. Now, eight months later, signs of change are on the horizon.
China Eastern Airlines
The rapid growth of China’s civil aviation sector has made air traffic management (ATM) efficiencies all the more important as the country strives to keep up with the demand for air travel.
A new airworthiness directive issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has resulted in the grounding of 15 Xi’an MA-60 turboprops following two incidences of landing gear failure. The directive requires operators inspect the undercarriages and gear annunciation systems of airplanes that have logged more than 6,400 takeoffs. Two Chinese airlines–Okay Airways and Joy Air–and carriers from the Philippines, Laos, Zimbabwe and Bolivia operate the 15 airplanes.
Asia Pacific governments have long considered development of their aerospace industries a prime opportunity for technology renewal and overall economic growth. Several big OEMs have answered the call to help, allowing countries such as Singapore and Malaysia to develop into some of the world’s most active aerospace manufacturing, services and technology centers. Others, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, show particular promise due to their rapidly expanding economies and young, energetic populations hungry for jobs.
The Chinese airline industry is attracting scores of South American pilots who see far better opportunity for career advancement with fast growing and startup airlines in the People’s Republic than in their home countries.
As it embarks on a series of reforms under a new government that took office in March 2011, Myanmar has set its sights on next year for the release of a national civil aviation policy to prepare for a traffic boom that threatens to overwhelm its woefully inadequate air transport infrastructure.
Airshow China last month provided yet more evidence of how eager the business aviation industry is to tap the enormous potential growth in China. Every major business aircraft maker made the trip to Zhuhai in the prosperous southern province of Guangdong, and their products formed one of the more prominent clusters among the 80 or so aircraft on display.
Rockwell Collins and China Eastern Airlines extended their joint venture, Collins Aviation Maintenance Services Shanghai Limited (CAMSSL), during a ceremonial signing at the Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai, today. “CAMSSL is committed to be the leading maintenance service provider for Rockwell Collins products in the Chinese aviation market,” said Feng Liang, chief engineer for China Eastern Airlines said.
An undisclosed Chinese customer ordered an Airbus ACJ319 on the second day of Airshow China 2012. The aircraft will feature the new fuel-saving sharklet wingtips.
Show organizers from the U.S. National Business Aviation Association, which jointly promotes the EBACE show, came to Geneva flushed with success (but doubtless fatigued too) after the successful relaunch of the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE). The March 27-29 event in Shanghai was, by common consent, a resounding success–especially considering the many challenges that organizers faced in running a modern trade show in China’s main business city.
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