China said it will encourage and attract private investment to help build more general aviation airports, to provide more comprehensive services such as public transportation and social services, and further promote the growth of the sector.
The government will encourage policy-based and commercial financial institutions to provide diversified financial services to support the construction of general aviation airports, and reduce the financing costs of enterprises, according to the statement released by the National Development and Reform Commission on Sept 4.
Local governments are encouraged to adopt models like franchising and government purchasing services, to prevent local government debt risks, according to the statement.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), the Civil Aviation Administration of China will appropriate civil aviation development funds to the building of one to two general aviation airports in different provinces. Those airports should be dedicated to short-distance transportation, emergency relief and medical assistance, the statement said.
In urban clusters with high market demand, such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta, the local governments should lay out comprehensive general aviation airports, to ease the non-core business of hub airports, and provide more personal and highly efficient services.
Besides, those city clusters should build general airports near hospitals, and gradually set up general aviation medical assistance networks, enabling the distances between hospitals and airports to be reduced to 30 minutes.
In addition, more general aviation airports should be built in areas with frequent natural disasters and near national highways to enhance emergency rescue capability by air, the statement said.
“For long, the limited number of general aviation airports and inadequate support facilities have been one of the restrictive factors that hampered the growth of the general aviation sector,” said Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst and columnist at Carnoc, one of China’s largest civil aviation websites.
It is projected that by 2020, China will have 500 general aviation airports, and more than 5,000 general aviation aircraft will be in operation. The industry’s value will exceed 1 trillion yuan ($1.5 billion), according to CAAC.
Currently, the United States has around 20,000 general aviation airports, and more than 70 percent of general aviation aircraft globally are delivered to the US, according to data from Qianzhan Institute for Industrial Research.
“The new policy will be beneficial to attract more social capital to be involved in the building of general airports, and help to improve the infrastructure of general aviation sector. Yet, the attraction of private investments not only needs the encouragement of government policies, it also requires profit incentives,” Lin said.