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In the next five years, the number of civilian helicopters in China is expected to triple to 600, with as many as 2,000 needed by 2032, according to sources.
"The Chinese helicopter industry is in its infancy. It is still growing, so I think we are going to see huge growth in the aviation sector over the next two decades," said Rishiraj Singh, Honeywell (China) Co Ltd's director and business leader of business and general aviation, aerospace for Asia Pacific and China, on Tuesday.
Singh, who attended the annual Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai, said there are about 200 civilian helicopters in China, and the number may grow to 600 in five years.
"In the next two decades, there could be about 2,000 helicopters in China. You can see the huge growth potential."
The central government has promised to gradually open parts of China's low-altitude airspace - altitudes lower than 1,000 meters - for private flights to promote the general aviation sector.
During the nation's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), the government said general aviation will be one of the pillars of economic development.
Du Qiang, deputy director-general of the National Air Traffic Control Commission Bureau, was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Securities News that China expects to have 2,640 general aviation aircraft and more than 12,000 people working in this industry by 2015.
Experts say China has 155,800 potential civilian helicopter clients, and the market is worth as much as 150 billion yuan ($24.2 billion).