March 26, 2012
By Thomas A. Horne
Seems all those rumors at last year’s National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) convention are beginning to come true. Back then, the buzz was that China was on the march, looking to partner with ailing American general aviation companies.
In a press release issued before this year’s upcoming Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE), Cessna Aircraft Co. and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said they have signed two documents that will lead to the manufacture and certification of Cessna aircraft in the People’s Republic of China. One document is aimed at development of China’s aviation infrastructure, and includes establishing a Chinese service center network for Cessna airplanes. The other agreement formalizes negotiations designed to develop a joint venture between Cessna, AVIC, and the Chengdu provincial government. The idea is to establish the joint venture to produce such mid-sized Cessna business jets as the Sovereign and Latitude in China, as well as “a potential new product” for the business jet market, the press release stated.
Cessna president and CEO Scott Ernest said, “We are extremely pleased to be entering into these strategic agreements. China’s market potential is tremendous and therefore represents an exciting opportunity for Cessna … These agreements will help take the industry to the next level.”
Cessna and AVIC plan on launching joint venture companies in China within the next year.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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