China's aviation industry adds wings to anti-epidemic fight

2020-02-19 Xinhua Editor:Gu Liping

China's all-round progress in both the aerospace manufacturing and air transport sectors of the aviation industry is adding wings to the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

A series of China's domestically-developed airplanes and the enhanced transport aviation capabilities are joining efforts to meet the unprecedented anti-epidemic challenges.


From Feb. 13 to 17, two batches of Y-20 large transport airplanes landed at Tianhe international airport of Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Hubei Province.

It represented the first round of appearances of China's domestically-developed large transport aircraft model to take part in non-military action.

Their mission on Feb. 13 also marked the first time for China's Air Force to send large and medium transport aircraft on active service to carry out urgent air transport tasks on a large scale.

The Y-20 large multi-role transport aircraft was developed by the state-owned Aviation Industry of China (AVIC) and entered the military service in July 2016.

The development and application of the Y-20 marked a breakthrough of China's capability in the design and manufacturing of large aircraft, and also represented a major step forward of China's Air Force, said the AVIC.

Together with the Y-20, the domestically-developed Y-9 medium transport airplanes were in the fleet to send medical staff and emergency supplies in the emergency mission.

According to the AVIC, technical professionals from multiple units of the group have joint the service, support and training works in fighting against the epidemic, contributing to the unique roles of the Chinese aviation industry.


The fast-growing civil aviation industry of China also moves fast in echoing the country's demands in emergency transports, thanks to the constant growth in the civil aviation sector over the past decades.

The civil aviation authorities and Chinese airliners showed their capability in coordinating and carrying medical personnel and supplies nationwide to the virus-hit regions.

As of Feb. 14, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has arranged and coordinated 21 Chinese air carriers to conduct 241 flights with 29,000 passengers.

Among them, nine flights carried more than 1,100 Hubei passengers stranded overseas back to China, and 48 charter flights conducted overseas transport missions.

The Chinese civil aviation authorities had coordinated 50 charter flights within two days to carry more than 6,200 medical personnel to rush to support Wuhan.

To lower the risks of infection on airplanes, flights with high passenger numbers will transfer to bigger aircraft to space out travelers, or more flights will be added, according to the CAAC.

China has become the world's second-largest civil aviation market, thanks to the country's constant economic growth and persistent efforts in cultivating the sector. It has created a remarkable record of double-digit growth in the civil aviation sector over the past decades.

The expanding fleet, extended route network and capability in air transport empower the Chinese civil aviation industry to meet the intense challenges alongside the outbreak of the epidemic.


A comprehensive aviation emergency response could generate the power and functions of various aerial vehicles. The anti-epidemic fight is testing and manifesting the country's strengthening aviation industry.

"The aviation emergency response system could play unique roles to tackle those challenges ahead of the traditional transport and supply systems, such as the large scale transportation in limited time and those missions of point-to-point delivery," said Zhang Haochi, an official at the Aviation Industry Development Research Center of China.

"Fixed-wing airplanes can meet the demands for the large-scale transport of people and cargo supplies. General airplanes are capable of facilitating short- and medium-range deliveries," Zhang said.

Flexible vehicles like helicopters are perfect for missions such as precise deliveries to hospitals and other key sites, patient transfers, and the delivery of rare emergency supplies.

"Aviation authorities and industry players are collaborating closely to meet challenges with quick response," said Li Jian, deputy head of the CAAC.

"In the following phase, we will encourage more carriers to exploit their capabilities, and ensure the smooth operation of the air transport corridor in the fight against the epidemic," Li said. Enditem

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