A California Aviation-services provider has an agreement with a Chinese company to establish and operate airports, repair stations and pilot-training facilities in China as the mainland's general aviation sector continues to grow.
Threshold Aviation Group of Chino, California, announced a partnership with YXST Aviation Industry Development Co Ltd on Jan 9. YXST is based in Zhangjiakou in Hebei province and provides general aviation services in the region.
"We will be establishing a MRO (Maintenance Repair Organization), FBO (Fixed Base Operation) as well as a pilot and maintenance technician training programs for YXST at their six airports in northern China," Douglas Crowther of Threshold wrote in an email. "Some of these training activities will also be conducted at our Chino, California, facilities. These activities will create additional employment opportunities as the programs mature."
"This is a huge, opportunity for Threshold Aviation Group to expand its business with nearly limitless potential," Mark Dilullo, Threshold CEO and owner said in a statement on the company's website. "The Chinese aviation market has the potential to eventually be the largest (general) aviation market in the world, and we are in on the ground floor providing critical services to help get it off the ground."
Threshold employs about 85 mostly at its Chino operations.
The agreement between Threshold and YXST comes after a 2017 trade show at Threshold's Chino Airport hangar as part of the inaugural U.S.-China General Aviation Business Conference, sponsored by Threshold and the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Aviation consultant Brian Foley said China's general aviation sector continues to evolve. "While the big cabin business jet segment helped bring visibility to the growing industry, lately there's been a switch towards more utilitarian aircraft, such as helicopters that can be used to help build China's infrastructure," he said in an email.
"China has made steady progress in addressing elements that have been holding back growth. For instance more airports are being built for general aviation aircraft, filing a flight plan takes less time and certain airspace up to 1000 meters has been made available to small aircraft to fly unencumbered," said Foley.
China is set to boost development of its general aviation industry to create a market worth more than 0 billion by 2020.
The country will build new general aviation airports, bringing the total number to more than 500 by 2020. China will also support the opening of low-altitude airspace and promote research and manufacturing in the sector, according to the State Council, China's cabinet.