China-proposed Belt and Road initiative boosting global demand for jets, pilots

Source:Xinhua-Global Times Published: 2018/7/12 16:53:41

Emerging markets are driving innovation in the global aviation sector and China is setting a good example, says the head of aviation firm Avia Solutions Group.

Avia is preparing to team up with Chinese partners to create opportunities in countries participating in the China-proposed Belt and Road (B&R) initiative, said chairman Gediminas Ziemelis.

The group is to establish ties with Chinese partners to invest in six full-time simulators in China and train up to 1,000 pilots by 2022, he said.

The company is also willing to further enhance aviation along the B&R routes in fields including maintenance repair operations, aviation personnel training and high-tech solutions.

"It is the right time to partner with Chinese enterprises to boost connectivity," said Ziemelis.

Lithuania-based Avia Solutions Group, a holding company of aviation support and service businesses, has operations in 40 countries and regions, most of them along the B&R routes.

China is undoubtedly one of the most powerful "engines" of the global aviation industry, said Ziemelis.

Avia's sister company, AviaAM Leasing, established a successful aircraft leasing joint venture with Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Co in Central China's Henan Province in 2016. The joint venture oversees 14 brand-new A320 and B737 aircraft.

China will receive more than 6,300 new aircraft over the next 20 years, according to a Boeing forecast in 2017.

The International Transport Association forecasts China will surpass the US to be the world's largest civil aviation market by 2022.

"The new opening in the market will be pilot training," said Ziemelis.

Each new aircraft means a demand for 20 to 22 pilots, he said, and each working pilot needs at least 12 hours of training in a full-flight simulator each year.

BAA Training, a subsidiary of Avia, provides 40 types of personnel programs.

"We are looking for local partners and sites to locate full-flight simulators here in China in the next six to 12 months," he said.

Emerging markets along the B&R routes share challenges in developing the civil aviation industry, such as the extreme shortages of personnel, finance, efficient high-tech management tools and infrastructure.

BAA Training has also established a modern flight training facility in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which is set to introduce the latest full-flight simulators for an Airbus A320 pilot training program by mid-2019.

"Data-driven solutions and innovative process management tools might make emerging markets more dynamic, effective and flexible in developing their aviation sectors," Ziemelis said.


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