China’s aviation regulator has approved a pilot scheme (no pun intended) for the country’s first general aviation industrial park in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has given approval for the Pucheng industrial park in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi, to open low-altitude airspace for general aviation between an airport and more than five scenic spots.
Jin Qiansheng, head of Xi’an Yanliang national aviation hi-tech industrial base, said, aircraft will carry visitors to tour the scenic spots in 2010 but he gave no exact timetable. He also said the pilot grogram could spark policy changes for flying at low altitudes and give a strong boost to the general aviation market in China.
Low altitude usually refers to airspace below 3,000 meters. General aviation refers to flights other than military and scheduled airline flights. All of which are very important.
It is thought that resistance to opening up the airspace has come, understandably, from the People’s Liberation Army. (China is not the only country that has these sort of restrictions. In Australia, much of the wireless bandwidth is locked off from the public. It is, please believe me, locked off for use by taxis.)
Because of the height restrictions China had only 898 registered utility aircraft by the end of 2008 while the number in the United States is more than 220,000, according to Sun Cong, former head of Shenyang aircraft design and research institute.
CRI.English.com reported that Sun Cong advised in March that the government will gradually open the low-altitude airspace to meet rising demand for general aviation in fields like disaster relief, exploration and business trips.