(Corrects cost of licence in final paragraph to 250,000 yuan)
BEIJING Aug 21 China Beidahuang General
Aviation Co plans to buy more than 40 planes and helicopters by
2020, which would expand its fleet, already the biggest in
China, to around 130 aircraft, its general manager said on
China Beidahuang, which specializes in forestry and
agriculture services, already has 6 helicopters, Guo Qingcai
told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry even in Beijing.
"It's the first time for us to have helicopters on the
fleet. They are very useful for forestry protection and some
agriculture related missions," said Guo.
The company plans to add 10-15 small helicopters in the few
next years, followed by bigger models, such as Kamov K32, he
General aviation refers to all flights that are not operated
by airlines, charter firms or the military. The industry is
already worth $150 billion in the United States.
In China, where the military controls 80 percent of
airspace, there are only about 1,650 registered general aviation
aircraft in China as of the end of 2013, official data show.
Guo said he believed the industry had a lot of growth
potential once Beijing starts to ease its control of
low-altitude air space as early as 2015.
China Beidahuang also runs a certified pilot school in
Heilongjiang province. Guo said the company had recently agreed
a deal with Tsinghua University to offer flight training
classes, a lucrative new business as private flying licences can
cost up to 250,000 yuan ($40,644).
(Reporting by Fang Yan and Matthew Miller in BEIJING; Editing
by Miral Fahmy)