US aircraft companies seek business in Chinese market

This year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh drew more than half a million people from 70 different countries to the U.S. state of Wisconsin.

The air show is not only a celebration of all things aviation, it’s helping general aviation get off the ground in China.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy has more.

“China’s moving very fast in the aviation sector,” said Francis Chao, managing director of Uniworld USA. Chao started the air show’s China Pavilion six years ago. It has sought to link investors and companies outside of China with the country’s general aviation sector as it builds pretty much from the ground up.

“You need equipment, you need aircraft, you need management, you need technology, you need everything,” said Chao. He believes the Chinese government recognizes the demand and the need for corporate, medical and recreational aviation in the country. Airports are being built and gradually airspace is being opened up which means lots of potential business ahead.

“Building aircraft, selling aircraft, training pilots, everything that happens in general aviation, that whole thing that we do here in the States, is an opportunity over in China,” said Dan Malott, a general aviation expert at the University of North Dakota.

“We can’t ignore it,” Mark Schaible, GM of Sonex Aircraft said. “It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time.”

Schaible sees opportunity in the kit or self-assembly planes his company manufactures. He thinks it’s a perfect fit for pilot training schools in China.

“We want to share in the success,” he said. “We don’t want to be left out of enjoying the success of selling to what could potentially be a very large new market.”

Brandon Seltz, the founder of Take Flight Interactive, also sees opportunity with the virtual flight instructor his company manufactures. It’s an interactive simulation product that helps would-be pilots learn how to fly.

“China and India, Asia, where commercial air travel is growing exponentially yet little flight training infrastructure exists, I think this is a way to really prime the commercial pilot pipeline,” said Seltz.

The Oshkosh air show encompasses far more than the old, the new and the acrobatic. It’s about what lies just over the horizon.

“This is the perfect place to come over here, to learn, to shake hands with your counterpart, future partner, and talk about business,” said Chao.

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