Business / Companies

AVIC reveals progress in Africa

By Zhao Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-18 07:34

China is making good progress in the creation of a network of aviation training and maintenance facilities in Africa, being built in an effort to boost potential sales of the China-made aircraft, and help improve the continent's air transport sector.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Aviation Expo China 2015 in Beijing, Zhang Guangjian, general manager of AVIC International Aero-Development Corp, told China Daily he hoped all the planned facilities would be fully operational by 2020.

The network is likely to comprise an aviation training center, two regional marketing offices, two maintenance and support centers and three spare-parts warehouses, he said.

Work has started on the maintenance and support offices in the Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Construction is expected to start soon on the three spare-parts warehouses in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Congo while the aviation training center has already started operations.

Congo and Zimbabwe are big users of Chinese aircraft while Kenya is a major regional air hub.

The AVIC aviation training center in South Africa is a 1 billion yuan ($151 million) joint venture with Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Test Flying Academy of South Africa.

That is capable of training a maximum of 300 flight students and it is expected to be extended to 700 by 2020.

"We plan to use these installations to help our civil aircraft industry expand its presence in Africa's central and northwestern regions," he said, adding his company is also negotiating with Tanzania, Zambia and Guinea on the founding of jointly invested airlines in each country.

Zhang's firm is a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp of China and is responsible for exporting the country's civil aircraft.

"Compared with Western counterparts, our aircraft have proven more suitable for operations in Africa because they are more adaptable to tough use and bad infrastructure," said Zhang.

"They have enabled our African friends to operate good aircraft at an affordable cost."

Premier Li Keqiang, during his visit to Africa in May 2014, proposed a China-Africa regional aviation cooperation plan, pledging to help the continent create a regional air transport network.

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