Coun­try’s air­park set to take off soon

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI in Bei­jing zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s first avi­a­tion theme park will open to the public soon, ac­cord­ing to Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China, the na­tion’s lead­ing air­craft maker.

In­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion work has been com­pleted at the 30-square-kilo­me­ter AVIC Air­park in Jing­men in Cen­tral China’s Hubei prov­ince, said a news re­lease from the avi­a­tion con­glom­er­ate in Bei­jing.

The air­park has the largest gen­eral avi­a­tion air­port in Cen­tral China, Zhanghe Air­port, which has one 1,800-meter-long run­way and an­other 800-me­ters-long. It also has a des­ig­nated area on the sur­face of the Zhanghe Reser­voir that can be used by sea­planes to land and take off.

The open­ing of the park will help boost devel­op­ment of China’s gen­eral avi­a­tion and strengthen public in­ter­est and aware­ness of the sec­tor, the news re­lease said. It added that when com­pleted, the park’s five sec­tions will fea­ture com­mer­cial flight ser­vices, gen­eral avi­a­tion man­u­fac­tur­ing, avi­a­tion tourism, avi­a­tion re­search and devel­op­ment, and cul­tural in­dus­tries.

Gen­eral avi­a­tion refers to civil avi­a­tion op­er­a­tions rather than sched­uled air ser­vices.

The Jing­men air­park will host a range of gen­eral avi­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties, such as hangars, pi­lot train­ing schools, aero­nau­ti­cal ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties, fliers’ clubs and avi­a­tion mu­se­ums, ac­cord­ing to Song Qing­guo, gen­eral man­ager of China Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Gen­eral Air­craft Co, which is owned by AVIC, who par­tic­i­pated in the plan­ning and build­ing.

It also aims to be­come the coun­try’s largest test and man­u­fac­tur­ing base for spe­cial air­craft, and to dom­i­nate Cen­tral China’s gen­eral avi­a­tion ser­vices mar­ket.

Song said an AVIC air­craft as­sem­bly plant is be­ing built in the air­park, and that it will be ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing about 500 light­weight sport planes a year.

AVIC plans to es­tab­lish 50 such air­parks na­tion­wide to pro­mote avi­a­tion cul­ture and ac­cel­er­ate the growth of gen­eral avi­a­tion in­dus­tries, which have long been ig­nored in China.

The United States, which op­er­ates more than 300,000 gen­eral avi­a­tion air­crafts, has at least 21,000 air­ports and land­ing points ded­i­cated to such planes, along with nearly 10,000 main­te­nance sta­tions.

By con­trast, the Chi­nese main­land has less than 300 gen­eral avi­a­tion air­ports and land­ing points, and few main­te­nance and sup­port fa­cil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to Wang Ya’nan, ed­i­tor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowl­edge mag­a­zine.

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