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China’s Most Recent Airspace Reform Starting 2015

Beijing (ASA Reporter Chong Jian Wen)
November 11th, 2014
A high level military and government conference has concluded a policy reform to China’s current stiff airspace system, promising a vigorous General Aviation (hereafter referred to as “GA”) industry, according toWangYi News Aviation-a Chinese internet-based news agency.

Currently 12 pilot programs involving 12 flight centers, equivalent of Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC), are underway for a prospective grand opening of nation-wide low level airspace at or below a true altitude of 1000 meters (3281 feet). It is expected that such policy reforms take effect early 2015, signaling the government’s commitment
to better utilize China’s massive airspace resources first time in history and continue to expand its under-developed GA industry.

Detailed agency briefs and legislative proposals are brought to the table for review and discussion. Based on regional topography and the performance characteristics of General Aviation aircrafts, 122 “controlled” regions, 63 “monitoring” regions, 69 “reporting” regions and 12 VFR (Visual Flight Rules) airways are established and integrated into China’s current military-controlled airspace. It specifies entry requirements for various classes of airspace including ATC clearance, aircraft types & equipment and operating limits as part of elementary steps toward a more sophisticated and efficient national airspace system.

Policies favoring General Aviation (GA) in recent years have substantially boosted GA investments and activities. The country has seen a steady two digit growth rate in GA operations per year. As of the year 2013, 189 companies, 1654 GA aircrafts and a dozen GA research and development facilities are taking roots in China, contributing to China’s economy as a new promising industry with tremendous potentials for growth.

The conference has tackled issues pertinent to the accessibility of GA flights. Regions under the ongoing test program can now enjoy expedited approval of flight plans. Unnecessary filing procedures are greatly reduced to cut down wasted time on cumbersome paperwork. As a confidence builder, these series of reforms would introduce longtime frustrated users, mostly private operators, a much more viable and predictable path towards profit-generating GA businesses.

Close to 200 high level military and government officials including Deputy Premier Ma Kai, Deputy Army Chief of Staff Qi Jianguo attended the conference.

Reporter Chong Jian Wen
Aero Sport Magazine (ASA)