China's civil aviation authority is encouraging private investment for building airports to counter the slowdown that has hit the domestic general aviation market in the wake of the government's austerity campaign, a senior official said yesterday.
Growth in the Chinese general aviation market has slowed markedly following a blowout increase during the past three years, according to Wang Zhiqing, deputy director with the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
"The lull is mainly due to poor infrastructure, such as lack of airports and shortage of flight time for non-commercial or general aviation," Wang told the inaugural ceremony of the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition that opened in Shanghai yesterday. The government is looking at private funds to build more airports, the official added.
The central government's austerity campaign has also affected the business jet market as few government bodies or state-owned enterprises are renting or buying such aircraft, exhibitors revealed.
Up to 9,250 new business jets will be delivered through 2023 for a total cost of US$250 billion, Honeywell Aerospace, one of the world's major manufacturers, said in its annual forecast yesterday.
The Asia-Pacific's share of global demand over the next five years will drop by 2 percentage points to about only 5 percent, the report said.
"Though the number of governmental buyers has dropped dramatically in China, more private companies are buying or renting business jets," said Doris Xu, a product director with Shanghai Deer Jet Co.
It costs roughly 80,000 yuan (US$12,855) per hour to rent a business jet and 6 million yuan per year to ask the company to take care of the jet.
Most of the buyers this year are firms as private buyers find it tough to get a flight schedule, especially in Shanghai thanks to its busy air traffic flow, said Li Xiaojuan, a press officer with the Bin Ao Aircraft which showcased the cheapest business jet costing about 3 million yuan at the three-day show.
The CAAC's Wang said that general aviation aircraft had to use the intervals between takeoff or landing of commercial flights at Hongqiao and Pudong airports, but since a plane takes off nearly every five minutes at both airports, it was quite difficult to spare time for general aviation.
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