Civil aviation industry climbs to new heights

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)


A paraglider air display is held at Yaocheng Airport in Taiyuan in September 2020. [Photo by Liu Tong for China Daily]

Shanxi has evolved into a major general aviation industry hub in China, taking great strides since the release of a medium-term plan in September 2018 for the industry's development during the 2018-35 period.

Three months after the plan's release, Shanxi was approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of China as the second demonstration region for general aviation, next only to Chongqing.

The province's major player in the industry, Shanxi General Aviation Group, was founded in December 2018, and made its debut flight in April 2019.

Based at Yaocheng Airport in Taiyuan, the company now operates four short-distance routes, including the two flights linking Taiyuan with the Shanxi cities of Changzhi and Lyuliang on a daily and round-trip basis.

The company also operates three sight-seeing routes for tourists to destinations including the Hukou Waterfalls on the Yellow River, the Taihang Mountain Grand Canyons in eastern Shanxi and the Yanmen Pass of the Great Wall in the city of Xinzhou.

Shanxi has seven companies providing general aviation flight services.

The plan's implementation has increased the development of a full industrial chain in general aviation, including aircraft assembly, production and maintenance.

Xiyouyuan Aviation Technologies is an emerging aircraft maintenance company. Its clients include such international big names as Boeing and Airbus, according to Chen Jinpeng, deputy general manager of the company.

Another heavyweight player in the general aviation manufacturing sector in Shanxi is a branch company funded and operated by Sino-German Light Aircraft based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

The branch, called Datong Light Aircraft, was founded in 2017 in the northern Shanxi city of Datong. It was Shanxi's first company to be granted a license by the CAAC to manufacture aircraft.

With a designed annual production capacity of 400 light aircraft, Datong Light Aircraft secured orders of more than 100 units this year, according to Shen Dinglong, board chairman of Sino-German Light Aircraft.

According to Shanxi's plan for the industry, the scale of the province's general aviation sector is expected to reach 10 billion yuan ($1.56 billion) by 2025. And the figure is projected to reach 50 billion yuan by 2035.

Wu Jia contributed to this story.