China is on the verge of a boom in General Aviation thanks to a change of policy by the country’s guiding leaders, the state council.

China needs pilots for its fast-growing airline network and to train them, it needs a General Aviation (GA) infrastructure and flight schools.

Estimates suggest more than 500 GA airports will be built, and more than 5,000 GA training aircraft needed. That’s quite a jump from the existing setup and an ambitious timescale has been set to achieve it.

Hence, Chinese companies have been on a spending spree in the west, buying up GA companies. It’s not just the hardware they need, it’s also expertise… human expertise.

Leading the development of GA in China is likely to be HNA General Aviation Investment Group (HNA General Aviation), a huge company with interests in Hainan Airlines and Deer Jet, the private jet operator. Deer Jet has become a subsidiary of HNA and its chairman, Mr Zhang Peng, pictured above, now heads up HNA General Aviation.

HNA’s plan is grow training services across all sectors, light aircraft, jets and helicopters. They need it all. The HNA Aviation Academy already exists, having launched in 2008 and now with training bases across China.

HNA also acquired UAS International Trip Support, which helps private jet operators around the world with flight-planning and associated services. Dubai-based UAS has a worldwide network of offices which will help HNA’s growth into the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Australia.

HNA Group