Aviation In China

China’s aerospace future is a test case for its economic and technological development as a whole. The obstacles facing the country’s aviation industry cut to the heart of China’s economic challenges today. Thanks to global integration and rising wages, the country’s days as a copycat and sweatshop to the world are numbered; its leaders know it must become more innovative if it is to succeed. Doing so will require big changes in its intense approach to education, unreliable legal system and repressive political regime, as well as adjustments to various social norms.

With an estimated $1 trillion being spent on new aircrafts over the next two decades Chinese Airlines are seeking to meet the booming demand for air travel. The massive spending spree will pay for an estimated 6,810 aircraft, and turn China into what Boeing describes as “the first trillion dollar aviation market.” Right now China falls second to the U.S for commercial aviation, but analysts predict that by 2030 China will surpass the U.S and take the #1 spot. With a population of 1.4 billion, and a middle class that is spending billions on domestic and foreign vacations, this does seem like a plausible outcome. 487 million domestic and international journeys were made last year in China. With that huge interest in travel among the middle class, it makes sense why China is stepping up and making this investment in aviation.

Right now China currently has 55 up and running airlines. The country also hosts more than two-thirds of the airports now under construction around the world. It is mind-boggling how invested China has become in this plan to conquer global aviation markets. Making more airports available will only snowball into increasing the logic of building more planes. You have to have a place for all these new planes, so building more airports makes sense.

This boom that is taking place will have effects that can help boost the economy and create new jobs. You are going to need employees to build and maintain all the new airports. Not only that, but you are going to need employees to build and maintain all the new planes. And who is going to fly all these new planes? There is going to be a huge need for new pilots to fly them. With the increase in the need for new pilots, there will be a huge demand for flight schools, since there will be a shortage in pilots for all these new planes being built. In 2006, China had 1,768 pilots. In 2010, there were roughly 3, 091 pilots. The pilot deficit is expected to worsen over the next few years. It is estimated that passenger traffic will grow 11.4 percent from now until 2020. There is a large lack of flight schools. There are currently a little more than 10, with an average graduation of 50 pilots each year. Education and awareness continue to be integral to improving the certification process.

Aviation in China is on its way, but still has a lot of work to be done to make it successful. In 2015, 1/3 of all flights in China were delayed. This is just a reminder that this is a process that will take time.