The World Fly-in Expo (WFE) was held in a general aviation airport in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, from May 18 to 22. Aerobatic shows featuring powered gliders, parachutists and stunt landing brought a feast for aerophiles from near and far, according to the Information Office of Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone.
“It feels so good to fly. So this time I brought my friends to experience what it feels like to be flying,” said Mr. Zhou, a Wuhan citizen. He tried wind tunnel two years ago, and was obsessed with the sport.
Top flight events have promoted flight culture among the public. The first WFE, held in Wuhan in 2017, set the audience record of nearly 500,000 in just four days.
Wuhan, with its advantageous location, strong industrial base, and a large number of general aviation sports consumers, is a state-supported national central city. In 2017, FAI, CATA and the city of Wuhan signed a memorandum of cooperation, making the city a regular host of international air sports events.
Wuhan has hosted air events including the WFE and RENO International Championship Air Races for three consecutive years since 2017. The sky is the limit for the city’s general aviation industry.
Li Zhengmei, deputy head of the Aero Sports Federation of China, said according to the international criterion, a country with a per capita GDP of 4,000 USD is capable of aviation sports products consumption. Currently China has a per capita GDP of nearly 10,000 USD, which brings a huge market potential for aviation sports industry.
“Demand breeds supply. Aero events bring more people to get to know about aviation and fall for it, which extends the general aviation industry chain,” said an official representing the economic and technological development zone of Wuhan. The development zone has drafted a specific plan for the promotion of the aviation industry, including hosting related expos and events, building aero communities and campsites, so as to promote local industrial restructuring and upgrading.
Official statistics show that the development zone has landed 13 projects relating to general aviation since the first WFE in 2017, with a total contract volume of 31.7 billion yuan (1 USD equals 6.91 yuan). Wuhan-based Wenfa Aerospace invested an industrial park in the development zone in April. After acquiring a German aircraft company, Wenfa introduced three sport aircraft, which are expected to be put into production next year and meet the public soon.
Industry and events complement each other. Wuhan will host the 114th plenary session of FAI, scheduled in October 2020, during which over 100 member units of FAI will gather in Wuhan to discuss future development of general aviation industry.
The development zone administration has planned to attract investment focused on general aviation industry, making an effort to introduce projects of general aircraft, UAV, key components, air operation and support, as well as general satellite. The local government aims to tap market potential with more top aero events, improve business environment with favorable policies, and build Wuhan a city of air sports in China.
Source: The Information Office of Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone