Many folks who worked in Wichita, Kansas believed that the companies there would be exporting light aircraft to China and India as those nations grew. Unfortunately both India and China see the general aviation market as a growth industry for home grown companies. And they not only plan on making aircraft for their own markets but for an export industry also. No one should be all that surprised with this really, and it is too bad that American aircraft manufacturers didn’t see this one coming.
According to FlightGlobal; “Aviation Industry Corporation of China General Aircraft plans to build a small business jet as well as small piston-engined aircraft. AVIC General Aircraft president Tan Weidong says manufacture of the four- to six-seat piston aircraft could start as early as 2010.”
Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft, and Mooney have all laid-off factory workers making small propeller aircraft for general aviation. Most of the light, small jet corporate aircraft manufacturers have also laid-off employees as well. China is also building jet airliners, albeit smaller ones of the 90 passenger or so size. The reality is that not only are the Chinese going to out produce Wichita, but they are going to be able to do it for a lot less money.
Due to lawsuits, over regulation, and due to the cost structures of building aircraft in the US there is no way that our general aviation manufacturers can compete on a global scale. Whereas, it is true that American built private aircraft are much safer, and are built under more stringent guidelines, that is not enough to hold this market.
As the Chinese enter the general aviation manufacturing sector in 2010, and as the light aircraft manufacturers in India also come online, we will see the loss of yet another industry. Please consider all this.