by Xinhua writer Hu Tao
BEIJING, April 2 (Xinhua) -- China has become a leader with vision in the aviation sector, as it is "making the industry reach its full potential," says a senior official with the U.S. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
"China is a great market no one can miss. More importantly, it is playing a role on the global stage, setting an example and offering opportunities worldwide," NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told Xinhua in an exclusive interview ahead of the 2019 Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE).
Asia's predominant annual business aviation event, ABACE will be held from April 16 to 18 at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.
EXPECTATIONS AND INSPIRATION
China has seen significant growth in aviation infrastructure, professional management and regulation. "They are all very important to the Chinese story of the aviation industry," Bolen said.
"China is a country that creates expectations and inspiration."
After more than 30 years working in aviation, he has seen the "China commitment and China speed" in making aviation soar.
On his first trip to Shanghai, local authorities told him that they were planning an international airport with a high-speed rail link to downtown. In 2003, it was "all done."
Aviation infrastructure has grown significantly. At the end of 2018, China had 235 civil airports. Under the government's 13th Five-Year Plan, the figure is expected to reach 260.
Beijing is currently building its second airport, Beijing Daxing International Airport, to embrace the growing influx of passengers and goods.
REALIZING THE FUTURE
"China has the vision and commitment to boost aviation. It makes the commitments and future real. That's quite exciting to me and industry insiders worldwide," said Bolen. "Especially in the business aviation sector, we need to share experiences and meet challenges together."
Corporate jets landed in the Chinese market in the mid-1990s and business aviation saw double-digit expansion every year until 2014.
"Like each industry, there is always an economy cycle. We ought to work together to allow business aviation to thrive," Bolen said.
Business aviation helps to spur economic development and create jobs by "bringing people and business closer in incomparable speed as travel time is quite important and productive work time," said Bolen.
China's economy is continuously growing and Chinese enterprises have closer ties with the world. Business aviation is a better way to facilitate cooperation and competition, even in tough markets."
All the world's major business aircraft manufacturers will attend ABACE with their flagship aircraft. Service providers in fields such as leasing, maintenance and professional training will go because China is "the market they can't miss."
The NBAA will try at the ABACE to bring industry leaders and professionals together to share experiences and absorb China's experience in developing its aviation industry.
"We expect the Chinese aviation industry to grow with its own characteristics. That will make the global aviation industry more diversified and be good for mutual learning and better cooperation," Bolen said.
For example, aviation training is a challenge for all countries, and safety is a common focus. With a surging aircraft fleet and professional team, China has an acknowledged safety record in civil aviation.
The country's civil aviation industry had 100 months and 68.35 million hours of sustained safe flight as of the end of 2018, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
China is the world's second largest civil aviation market and is expected to become the largest in mid-2020, according to the International Air Transport Association.
"The world is expected to learn how China tackles challenges and makes things happen in its way," Bolen said.