Avi­a­tion firms spread wings in Africa to bring bet­ter air ser­vices

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By ABDUEL ELINAZA For China Daily

The foot­print in Africa of the Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion of China has grown as its pres­ence has ex­panded in 10 na­tional mar­kets, with its prod­ucts used by flag car­ri­ers, gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tors and oth­ers. The lat­est big push was dur­ing the 10th China In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion and Aero­space Ex­hi­bi­tion, held in Novem­ber in the south­ern port city of Zhuhai, Guang­dong prov­ince.

There, a deal for de­liv­ery of three Chi­nese-built ARJ21 planes was sealed by the Repub­lic of Congo, also known as Con­goBraz­zav­ille, the first African coun­try to or­der the new plane.

ARJ21 is short for Ad­vanced Re­gional Jet for the 21st Cen­tury, a new, twin-en­gine tur­bo­fan for a short- to medium-range jet. The plane is built by the Com­mer­cial Air­craft Corp of China Ltd, in which AVIC is a ma­jor share­holder.

Congo’s Min­istry of Trans­port signed a pur­chase agree­ment for three ARJ21-700 air­craft, in­clud­ing two re­gional jet mod­els and one business air­craft.

“The ARJ21-700 is made in ac­cor­dance with the in­ter­na­tional air­wor­thi­ness stan­dards, which is an air­craft with wide mar­ket adapt­abil­ity and ex­cel­lent range cov­er­age ca­pa­bil­ity, and is very suit­able for op­er­a­tions in Africa,” ac­cord­ing to a Congo gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial quoted by the World Civil Avi­a­tion Re­source Net, wcarn.com.

The ARJ21, a 90-seater, can eas­ily con­nect Dar es Salaam with Jo­han­nes­burg and Ad­dis Ababa. Some 250 or­ders have been placed for the air­craft around the world.

The ARJ21 is ex­pected to be de­liv­ered to its first in­ter­nal cus­tomer in China by the end of this year, and will be­gin to be de­liv­ered to for­eign cus­tomers by the end of 2015.

“The to­tal num­ber of AVIC air­craft op­er­at­ing in the African con­ti­nent is more than 400,” says Xue Hang, di­rec­tor of the civil air­craft di­vi­sion of AVIC In­ter­na­tional AeroDevel­op­ment Corp, a sales and ser­vice provider wholly owned by AVIC.

Xue says AVIC has cus­tomers in Tan­za­nia, Kenya, Zam­bia, Egypt, Cameroon, the Repub­lic of Congo, Zim­babwe, Bu­rundi, Su­dan and Sene­gal.

Xue says the event was suc­cess­ful not only for AVIC, but “the name of African air­lines was dis­played in this air show as well”. The show in­cluded 700 ex­hibitors from 41 coun­tries.

Xue says that there are also sev­eral Chi­nese-built Y12 air­craft serv­ing in the Tan­za­nia Air Force and ex­perts be­lieve that it is very suit­able for civil air trans­port there, es­pe­cially for short and low-fre­quency routes and re­mote air­ports.

The Y12 se­ries air­craft is a light and gen­eral pur­pose air­craft. The high wing two-en­gine air­craft can be used for pas­sen­ger and cargo trans­porta­tion, as well as for para­chute jumping and tour­ing, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Xin­hua News Agency.

The Y12 is made by Harbin Air­craft In­dus­try Group Co Ltd, an AVIC sub­sidiary.

In June, Tan­za­nian Deputy Min­is­ter of Trans­port Charles Tizeba told the county’s Na­tional Assem­bly that the gov­ern­ment planned to ac­quire Y12E planes that can carry 18 pas­sen­gers each for Air Tan­za­nia Co Ltd with Chi­nese fi­nan­cial support. Air Tan­za­nia also has shown in­ter­est in the ARJ21.

In Ad­dis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May, Premier Li Ke­qiang pro­posed the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a China-Africa re­gional avi­a­tion co­op­er­a­tion pro­gram, in­clud­ing support for Chi­nese en­ter­prises to es­tab­lish joint ven­ture air­lines in African na­tions and use Chi­nese-made air­planes to im­prove re­gional con­nec­tions.

Li re­it­er­ated those points as im­por­tant goals on Dec 4 dur­ing the visit to China by South African Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. Avi­a­tion gi­ant AVIC is ex­pected to play an im­por­tant role in re­al­iz­ing Li’s vi­sion.

More than 30 air­craft made by AVIC were pre­sented at the Zhuhai air show, while 17 air­craft pur­chase agree­ments were signed and sev­eral air­craft de­liv­ery cer­e­monies were held.

Pur­chase agree­ments in­volved civil air­craft such as the Y12, the LE500 light train­ing air­craft, 56-seater MA60, the ARJ21 and the C919, a fam­ily of 158-174 seat nar­row-body air­lin­ers un­der de­vel­op­ment.

Harbin Air­craft also an­nounced the sign­ing of a con­tract with a US air­line company to sell 20 Y12 se­ries air­craft to the firm, Xin­hua re­ported.

The to­tal num­ber of AVIC air­craft op­er­at­ing in the African con­ti­nent is more than 400.” XUE HANG DI­REC­TOR OF THE CIVIL AIR­CRAFT DI­VI­SION OF AVIC IN­TER­NA­TIONAL AERO-DE­VEL­OP­MENT CORP

The air­craft will be used for sight­see­ing tours and cargo trans­port from Las Ve­gas to the Grand Canyon. It would be the first time for China to ex­port civil air­craft to the United States.

Xue says it is “be­lieved to be a sig­nal that Chi­nese air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­ity has been re­garded as a lead­ing one by the global mar­ket”.

HAIG has sold 130 of its Y12 se­ries air­craft to more than 20 coun­tries and re­gions world­wide.

AVIC In­ter­na­tional Hold­ing Corp, the largest Chi­nese State-owned aero­space company, has a net­work of 80 branches through­out China, the Asia Pa­cific, Europe, Amer­ica and Africa.

AVIC was started in 1951 as the Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mis­sion and has as­sets of about $110 bil­lion. It is not only an air­craft and he­li­copter man­u­fac­turer, but also a ma­jor sup­plier to other lead­ing global air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Boe­ing and Air­bus.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

An AVIC air­craft model on dis­play at a re­cent ex­hi­bi­tion in Zhuhai, Guang­dong prov­ince.

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