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Private Jets Vying for Space as Chinese Aviation Policies Are Slow to Modernize

Progress has been slow, and seems to be blocking what otherwise could be explosive growth rates.

Gate 25 in Beijing Airport domestic terminal

As usual, old totalitarian habits and the needs of modern business are colliding again in China, and this time the victim is business aviation in China. It’s not growing as expected, according to Corporate Jet Investor, and the culprit is government’s tight control of the country’s airspace, which shows little sign of loosening.

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China has been experimenting—slowly and cautiously—with opening up its airspace, with small scale trials at the end of 2010, in Changchun and Guangzhou. Progress has been slow, and seems to be blocking what otherwise could be explosive growth rates.

China’s other problem in this area is the lack of major airports. Beijing, by far the busiest destination for business aircraft, has one major civilian airport, which is overused with commercial flights, and has limited slots for business aviation operations: only one slot per hour during busy times.

Beijing has a second airport, Nanyuan, in the south of the city, between the fourth and fifth ring roads, but it’s under military control and serves government flights. The commercial carrier allowed there is China United Airlines.

Chinese airports have only one fixed base operator (FBO) at each location. In Beijing, where Capital Jet runs the airport’s FBO, CJI reports, the facility that Deer Jet built in time for the 2008 Olympic Games remains in use only as offices.

Deer Jet was allowed to operate from the new facility during Games, but now their aircraft are towed to Capital Jet before they are allowed to fly.

Beijing’s Nanyuan Airport, which is also the oldest airport in China, is scheduled for closure soon. Meanwhile, Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport is scheduled for completion onlu in October 2018.

Daxing, further south than Nanyuan, will serve the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei.



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