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Academician Fan Huitao: General Aviation is Expected to Become a New Engine for Economic Growth
Released:2018-03-20    Visitors:

“Our country now promotes strategies of innovation-driven development and seeks new economic growth points. According to the experience of developed countries, the general aviation industry may become the next economic growth point.” the Deputy to the National People’s Congress, the Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, the deputy director and researcher of the Science and Technology Committee of Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Fan Huitao said in an interview during this year’s NPC and CPPCC. Fan Huitao also brought about three suggestions. In addition to promoting the deep development of military and civilian integration and vigorously implementing new driving development strategies, the third suggestion is to accelerate the development of the general aviation industry.

General Aviation May Become a New Economic Growth Point

“Our country is now advancing the strategy of innovation-driven development to find new economic growth points. In the first 20 years, autos and real estate are the main growth points for China’s development, but now it has basically entered a stable stage and it may be difficult to become a new economic growth point.” said Fan Huitao, the representative of the National People's Congress, the academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the deputy director and researcher of the Science and Technology Committee Aviation Industry Corporation of China during the two sessions this year.

Fan Huitao believes that if we want to develop our economy, we must look for new growth points. According to the experience of developed countries, general aviation industry may become the next economic growth point. In particular, Chinese people like traveling. If they can travel by air as they buy cars to travel, our general aviation demand will become extremely large and the prospects will be broad.

The journalist noted that Guizhou Province has recently introduced the Development Plan of General Aviation Industry of Guizhou (2018-2025), which proposed that by 2020, Guizhou will create 6-8 exquisite air tours and 4-5 low-altitude air tour demonstration routes.

The Guidance on Promoting the Development of the General Aviation Industry released by the State Council in 2016 shows that China’s general aviation industry will be trillion-level. The guidance proposes that by the year 2020, more than 500 general airports will be built to cover the main producing areas of agricultural products, the main forest areas, and more than 50% of the 5A-level tourist attractions. With more than 5,000 general aviation aircrafts and an annual flying capacity of more than 2 million hours, the general aviation industry has an economic scale of more than 1 trillion yuan.

Take general-purpose aircrafts as example, the data shows that there are currently 300,000 general-purpose aircrafts in the world, of which 240,000 are in the United States, and only 2272 general aircrafts in China are registered. During the two sessions this year, many deputies to the National People's Congress proposed to accelerate the development of the general aviation industry. It is of great strategic significance to deepen the integration of military and civilian development and build a strong country with strong science and technology, a strong aerospace, and a strong traffic. According to data provided by representatives, the demand for various types of general-purpose aircrafts in the country in the next 10 years will reach 12,000, with an average annual compound growth rate of 20%.

Three Suggestions for the Development of General Aviation

However, Fan Huitao pointed out that there still exist problems to be solved in the development of general aviation in China. “Our general aviation industry is in the early stage and there exists some problems. First, the infrastructure of general aviation is relatively weak. For example, the number of general aviation airports is rather small. Second, the management in the low-altitude areas is strict. For example, the feature of general aviation is that the time of the flight needs to be flexible. If we propose the files, rigorously review and wait for them to be approved, there may be no demand any more. Third, there are gaps in general aviation safety management.

Public materials also show that currently only a handful of companies in the general aviation manufacturing industry in China. As for general aircraft manufacturers in China, there are mainly AVIC and some companies that have production licenses for the assembly and production of general-purpose aircraft. Most of the smaller general aircraft manufacturers only adopt shore-to-shore assembly without a production authority or license, not to mention acquiring all the design and research and development qualifications and independent intellectual property rights.

The journalist learned that the topic of general aviation is included in Fan Huitao’s proposal at the two sessions this year. “I mainly brought forward three suggestions: First, to promote the in-depth development of military and civilian integration. The second is to vigorously implement a new driving development strategy. The third is to accelerate the development of general aviation industry.” In terms of general aviation, Fan Huitao said that it is related to the status quo of the general aviation industry including “strengthening the construction of general aviation infrastructure, further increasing the opening of low-altitude areas, and introducing supporting policies for domestically-made general aviation aircraft by lower down taxation, etc.”

Some institutions also believe that the scale of China's aviation industry is still relatively small and the infrastructure construction is lagging behind. Slow progress in low-altitude airspace management reforms, a serious shortage of aircraft independent R&D and weak manufacturing capabilities are the main issues facing China's development of general aviation industry. Judging from the suggestions made by the representatives of the two committees during the two sessions this year, most of them were concentrated in the three aspects above. It is suggested that the development of general aviation manufacturing should also support the creation of national brands by private enterprises with advanced general aircraft manufacturing as the core.

Military and Civilian Integration for Strengthening Our Army and Enriching Our Country

In addition, Fan Huitao also expressed deep feelings about the military and civilian integration and innovation-driven development strategy. As for the integration of military and civilian, which is deeply related to AVIC, Fan Huitao said that he is also learning. His understanding is that military-civilian integration should combine the relatively independent defense science and technology industry with the civilian technology industry. In the past, it was said that the military and civilians were independent, and military and civilian integration would achieve military-civilian unification. “Military and civilian integration is a process. It is not formed in one day. We called it the combination of the military and the civilians in the early days. Today we call it the military and civilian integration. The former is a kind of “physical reaction” and the later is a kind of “chemical reaction”. It is of wider range and higher level which will enable national defense and the army's construction be integrated into the entire system of national economic construction.”

Fan Huitao believes that the military and civilian integration has now become a national strategy and it is regarded to be of great significance to our country’s dream of building a powerful country and a strong army. How to highlight safety and development and how to highlight economic construction and national defense construction are historical problems for all countries. At present, China is becoming stronger and stronger, and it is also facing a similar test. We should engage in military and civilian integration in the hope that we can share the two resources of economic construction and national defense construction and realize coordinated, balanced and compatible development. It enables us to realize the best allocation of resources and make full use of them to achieve maximum economic development and national defense benefits, and to unify the two goals of strengthening the military and enriching the country.

"The military and civilian integration plan for the top level of the country is already in place and we hope that the plan will be put into practice after the two sessions in 2018. In addition, we hope that some concrete policy measures at the operational level will be introduced so that they can be implemented in an orderly manner in every region." Fan Huitao indicated.

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