Representing ATP, I just completed a tour of China’s aerospace sector sponsored by our local partner, Beijing Century Coordinate Technology, Inc. (CCT). After presenting to conference rooms packed with engineers and meeting with numerous senior executives from over a dozen companies, it is clear that China has been investing heavily in aerospace development and is poised for takeoff.
The State of Aerospace in China
China’s aviation capabilities are expanding rapidly and even though commercial demand is still largely met by imported aircraft and technology, the pace of domestic development is impressive and growing. Fueled in part by collaboration with western companies, Chinese companies are quickly mastering the technologies necessary to design and build competitive commercial airframes and engines.
The Chinese government is fully supporting these efforts, investing heavily in the necessary infrastructure to realize China’s dream of developing their own commercial engines and aircraft. Roads, railways and airports are big, bold, new, and spare no expense for the convenience of the traveller. Likewise, the research and development facilities are big, bold, new and well-financed with a long term view of the future.
In one custom-built facility in Shanghai, AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Company has built a stunning office tower surrounded by staff apartments and recreational facilities that houses over 800 engineers with Masters Degrees (or better), and where the average age appeared to be about 30 years old. Based on my tour, no expense is being spared on these facilities.
The Future of Aerospace in China
I suspect that many people don’t realize that China is already the second-largest air travel market in the world, which opens up considerable opportunities for technology providers such as ATP. According to PIM Ltd., “Figures indicate that over the next five to ten years, China will increase the size of its general fleet by roughly 30 percent annually, a total value of $159 billion. From 2012-2032, Chinese enterprises and individuals are expected to purchase 5,357 aircraft of at least 50 seats apiece, at a net worth of US$647 billion; the number of single-aisle jet airliners will account for 75 percent of this total.”
Thanks to my colleagues and hosts from CCT, I have gained a deep appreciation for the commitment China is making to develop their commercial aerospace sector. ATP is excited about the opportunity to deploy our technology, through our partner CCT, to help China develop and operate safe, efficient and cost-effective aircraft to meet the needs of this growing economy.