April 14--SHANGHAI -- Encouraged by China's promise of a gradual opening of its low-altitude airspace, jet manufacturers have started to shift their focus to China's general aviation market, which is expected to grow 10-fold in the next five years.
Around 100 companies including jet manufacturers, ground-service providers, maintenance operators, and training providers took part in the Shanghai International Business Aviation Show on Wednesday. The manufacturers showcased about 30 aircraft in the 44,000 square meter exhibition space.
The event attracted substantial interest inspired by the joint announcement of the State Council and Central Military Commission last November that the nation's low-altitude airspace will gradually be opened, which means a huge potential market.
At the end of 2009, China had a total of 997 aircraft in the general aviation sector, and this figure is expected to exceed 10,000 by 2012, according to a People.com report.
Steve Taylor, president of Boeing Business Jets told China Daily, that Asia has become one of the world's strongest growth markets for business jets, and China will lead Asia in this area with its robust economic growth.
As the world's second-largest commercial-plane maker, Boeing Co has sold eight business jets to China in recent years, and it will deliver another three in 2011.
"We hope to win 50 percent of China's large business jet market (18-seats or above) in the future," said Li Bing, sales director with Boeing Business Jets Greater China. Li added that the competition is mainly between Boeing and Airbus SAS.
The world's largest plane maker by orders delivered and won in 2010, Airbus has sold more than 20 such aircraft to China in the past five years. Currently, China's business revenue accounts for 25 percent of Airbus' global corporate jet sales.
Between 2011 and 2015, Airbus is expected to sell five new corporate jetliners each year, said the European company.
The world's third-largest plane maker, Bombardier Inc has built its presence in China over more than 50 years.
The Canadian company holds a 27 percent share of China's business-aviation market, and more than 50 Bombardier business jets are operating in the country.
Bombardier builds and distributes 11 models of high-performance business jets through three brands -- the Global, Challenger and Learjet models.
"We have a very strong order book from China, and it is a significant market for us," said Bob Horner, senior vice-president of sales of Bombardier Business Aircraft. "Our clear objective is to increase that (27 percent) market share as the years go by," he added.
According to Bombardier's forecast, there will be an additional order of 600 business jets over the next 10 years from China.
More than 10,000 business jets operated at airports across the nation in 2010, of which about 3,500 were in Shanghai.
"The operations of business jets in Shanghai will grow steadily at an annual rate of between 10 and 15 percent," said Wang Guangdi, chairman of Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Center, a joint venture set up by the Shanghai Airport Authority and Australia-based Hawker Pacific.
The center, opened in March 2010, is the first of its kind on the Chinese mainland.