Policies stimulating foreign investment and relaxing previous restrictions, along with those aimed at incentivizing investment in infrastructure have, in the past, turned China into a promising market for stakeholders. In a bid to further develop its general aviation (GA) industry, aviation authorities have continued to unveil policies that reduce red tape, promote and standardize the industry.
In December 2018, the CAAC revealed its action plan to transform itself into an aviation powerhouse by 2050. The initial phases of the plan will focus on building up infrastructure, while later phases will focus on more air routes, by way of strategic cooperation between carriers. While much of the action plan focuses on commercial aviation, GA is likewise considered with many phases already in progress.
Accelerating the development of GA is the transfer of regulatory power from the central government to provincial governments. Local governments have now begun creating the necessary ecosystem, including building airports, as well as simplifying license applications and approval procedures. This, along with legislation allowing operators to conduct their business more autonomously, has led to the much-needed rise in personnel and GA-based careers.
One challenge that the central government currently faces is that of completing its final stages of technological development. This means becoming less dependent on foreign-produced aircraft parts, which is part of the country’s 10-year ‘Made in China 2025’ policy, focusing on developing high-tech industries including aerospace engineering.
Another challenge of the industry is to improve the country’s low-altitude airspace. In 2018, the CAAC announced its plan to implement a three-level service system for low-altitude flights by the early 2020s, which would provide operational information and scheduling arrangement. Previous initiatives aimed at airspace have done little, as there is still a lengthy process to endure.
While handling these challenges, the industry will also need to balance flight quality and passenger safety. An inflow of private investment to be spent on safety regulation is now expected. And, the CAAC will continue to place its focus on safety, alongside ensuring the smooth progress of this rapidly-developing industry.
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