Aviation training to China
Trends and opportunities
After several decades of economic growth and reform, China is set to become
the world’s largest aviation market in the mid 2020’s, with the number of
travellers moving through China’s airports forecast to increase from 487
million in 2015 to 927 million in 2024 (Source: Bloomberg,
China to Surpass U.S. as World’s Largest Aviation Market by 2024
, 21 October 2016).
According to Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) statistics:
- Chinese airlines carried around 480 million passengers and 6.6 million
tonnes of cargo and mail to the end of 2016, a year-on-year increase of 11
per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively.
- Shanghai's Pudong and Hongqiao airports passed the 100 million passenger
milestone in 2016 for the first time, while Beijing Capital International
Airport exceeded 90 million passengers.
- Around 4,890 new pilots, 2,393 technicians, 432 Air Traffic Controllers
and 567 dispatchers joined the Chinese civil aviation industry in 2016.
- Chinese carriers took delivery of 270 aircraft from January to November
2016, and over the same period opened 260 new international routes
- Growth in capacity and passenger numbers on international routes jumped
more than 20 per cent in 2016.
(Source: China Aviation Daily,
2016 Year in Review: China's Aviation Industry in Numbers, 23
The further development of the Aviation sector, and the infrastructure
which underpins it, is a key priority of the Chinese Government.
China’s 13th Five Year Plan (2016 – 2020) envisages a larger role for the
aviation sector in the economy, an increasingly mature component and
aircraft manufacturing capability, greater access for private Chinese and
foreign investors and an increase in the number of civil airports by at
least 50 over the duration of the plan.
Major aviation projects include Beijing’s new international airport, the
expansion of Zhengzhou’s freight handling capacities in central China, as
well as the further internationalisation of domestic hubs such as Harbin,
Chongqing and Xian (Source: China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC),
The 13th Five-Year Plan
Tianfu International Airport, which is currently under construction and
when completed will service Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan
province and a growing air hub. The site of the airport is at Lujia,
Jianyang, 51 kilometres south-east of Chengdu. Construction began in May
2016 and is due to open in 2020. This airport will operate as a second
airport for Chengdu with Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport continuing
Chengdu hopes to become the third largest airport hub in China, after
Beijing and Shanghai. The airport will have 6 Level 4F runways when all
phases are complete, two terminal buildings and will have capacity to
handle between 80 and 90 million passengers per year (Source: China Daily,New Chengdu airport on course for 2020
, 17 June 2016).
Currently the majority of China’s aircraft are sourced from overseas
suppliers, and both Boeing and Airbus have forecast that this increased
demand will drive the purchase of more than 6,000 new aircraft over the
next 20 years (Source: Boeing,
Boeing Forecasts Demand in China for 6,810 Airplanes, Valued at $1
, 13 September 2016).
Chinese state-owned manufacturers including the Commercial Aircraft
Corporation of China (COMAC) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China
(AVIC) are looking to compete with foreign suppliers along the supply
chain, including in commercial aircraft. COMAC’s C919 passenger jet is
expected to enter into service over the next few years.
China and Australia have a long running and diverse aviation partnership,
with Australia now China’s second largest destination for long haul
flights, behind only the United States. In 2016 China and Australia reached
agreement on an
Air Services Agreement (ASA
), which removed capacity restrictions between Australia and China for each
In addition, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have agreed
for the acceptance of airworthiness approval of aeronautical products from
Faced with on-going rapid growth in the sector, China has an acute shortage
of trained pilots. According to Boeing, airlines in China will need 111,000
new pilots by 2035, as new plane orders and demand for air travel surges,
accounting for 40 per cent of global aviator requirements during that
Australian flight training schools, simulators and universities, can assist
Chinese partners and students to meet the sector’s challenges and increase
capacity by providing training services to major airlines, accredited
Chinese pilot training providers, and through university partnerships.
Domestic training capacity is constrained by lower airspace restrictions,
demand pressures on existing airports, and challenges around a still
maturing sector, which all limit availability for the practical elements of
aviation training. In addition, finding pilots with sufficient experience
and the appropriate qualifications to pilot China’s expanding fleet of
advanced commercial aircraft is proving challenging, resulting in rising
salaries for suitably qualified pilots.
China’s domestic aviation industry continues to build capabilities, while training providers from North America, Europe, and other regions are active in the market.
It is essential to understand current market conditions and regulations for the recognition of aviation training qualifications when considering your China market strategy. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is a key regulator for China’s aviation sector. CCAR 141 approval is a key regulation for pilot training schools seeking to provide certified pilot training services to Chinese commercial airlines.
Links and industry contacts
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of China
Aviation Industry Corporation of China
International Air Transport Association
Government, business and trade resources for China
Australia Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Australia Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development,
Australia's Air Services Agreements
(including with China)
China Air Traffic Management Bureau
China Aviation Administration of China
China Aviation Daily
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