CCTV News / CNTV
CCTV News / CNTV
to spread wings
as China opens airspace 百科知识
Helicopters to spread wings as China opens airspace
Reporter: Martina Fuchs 丨 CCTV.com
10-09-2015 05:46 BJT
China's National Day holiday might be over, but there is no end in sight for the business of flying. The Chinese government is gradually opening up the low-altitude airspace below one thousand metres for the civil aviation industry. It's expected to boost sales of private jets and helicopters.
We're at Badaling Airport just outside of Beijing near the Great Wall of China. With more and more ultra high networth individuals, VIPs, and rich tourists visiting, the helicopter business is taking off here.
During the Golden Week holiday this past week, a helicopter cruise was probably the best option to visit the tourist hotspots and escape the crowds on the ground.
More than 750 million Chinese people are estimated to have taken a trip for the National Day holiday, which lasted from October 1st to the 7th.
The tiny airport might also soon get another boost. As China is expected to lift restrictions and allow private planes to enter low-altitude airspace - below 1,000 meters - without military approval from 2015.
"Once the airspace reform is implemented, there will be even more people who ride and buy helicopters, and can come to learn how to fly them. This is definitely a huge growth engine for the overall development of the aviation industry," Zhou Yugui, general manager of Badaling Airport, said.
China's airspace is controlled by the country's Air Force and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the CAAC.
Earlier this year, the regulator launched a trial operation for low-altitude airspace in three cities to meet the rising demand for civil aviation and the growing helicopter fleet.
Official statistics show that the number of civil helicopters on the mainland ballooned from just 387 in 2013 to 524 in 2014, a 37.5 percent rise.
At the recent China Civil Helicopter Summit 2015, US multinational Honeywell says it is bullish about the helicopter business in China.
Asian Sky Group meanwhile says that China is already its second-biggest market in Asia after Japan, growing by an annual 30 percent.
The government has promised to improve the legal framework governing the low-altitude airspace and to streamline approval procedures.
But the lack of small airports, maintenance facilities and pilots still hamper the sector's growth.
"The three most important points for the development of the aviation industry in China are firstly the opening up of the airspace, secondly the connectivity of our airports network, and thirdly talent acquisition," Wang Xia, secretary general of China General Aviation Association, said.
Industry officials are now eyeing China’s next Five Year Plan, which runs from 2016 to 2020, as an opportunity to further reform the low-altitude airspace.
CCTV / CNTV
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