Duluth, MN Company Flies Over The Great Wall
On the heels of their
announcement of an unprecedented 116 new aircraft orders for
the month of November, Cirrus Design Corporation
announced Thursday plans have been finalized to open their first
Cirrus sales center in China. The inaugural China sales center will
open at the General Aviation airport in Shanghai during the first
half of February, 2006.
John M. Bingham, Executive Vice-President of Sales &
Marketing for Cirrus, said that an agreement has been signed with
Shanghai AVMall International Trading Co., Ltd., to become an
authorized Cirrus Sales and Support Center. AVMall will take
delivery of their first Cirrus, an SR22, in March.
Another Cirrus slated for demonstration flights will be owned
and operated by the Cirrus Shanghai Representative Office. "The new
organization will be called the Cirrus Shanghai Sales Center and
will be operated by the capable China aviation expert Mr. Li
Linhai," said Bingham.
Li -- widely regarded across China as the first private Chinese
citizen to obtain private individual aircraft ownership -- is the
manager of China’s first private flight club, Qianyuan
(Frontier). He is also an enthusiastic supporter of Cirrus
aircraft, according to the company.
"Cirrus is a world-class aircraft manufacturer," said Li. "Our
organization, AVMall, is extremely honored that Cirrus has placed
their trust in us to become their first sales center in China."
Li added, "I’m confident that our market will be eager to
fly the exceptional Cirrus and that the brand will quickly become
the ultimate high-end status symbol."
Peter Claeys, Cirrus Regional Sales Director for China and SE
Asia said, "We want very much to help develop the General Aviation
market across China. We’re excited with this opportunity to
support a local sales center here in Shanghai and hope in the
future that we can explore the possibility of expansion."
Claeys said that much strategic consideration went into the
location selection process for the first Cirrus sales center, and
that Shanghai was selected due to its centralized geographic
location and its strength as a center for commerce and finance.
Claeys's group is now working to obtain the Validation of Type
Certificate (VTC) for the Cirrus aircraft series in China, a
prerequisite to the application of the airworthiness certificates
granted by China’s governing aviation organization known as
the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC).
Historically, entering the potentially enormous China
marketplace has been severely restricted for private airplane
manufacturers. According to the CAAC, less than 100 privately-owned
airplanes exist on the Chinese mainland -- in contrast to 200,000
in the US. Until recently, China has prohibited the granting of
airplane ownership licenses to individuals -- but those policies
eased after the new Regulation on Flight Control of General
Aviation took effect in May 2003.
Under the new rules CAAC opened its airspace -- once tightly
controlled by the government and the military -- to private
aircraft owners. This easing of restrictions has drawn interest
from companies such as Cirrus to now enter the China
Bingham said Cirrus sees enormous growth potential in China, the
world’s most populous country with over 1.3 billion
"We will search and identify new opportunities in China, mainly
to support business development. Our prospects will be business
owners and private individuals who recognize the benefits of having
a personal transportation aircraft."
Claeys said, "Once the regulations are in place, we see the
personal transportation airplane concept developing in this market
in much the same way that the automotive industry grew rapidly in
China. This market has an appreciation for state-of-the-art
technology and a desire for quality imported products. China is
forecast to become the second largest aviation market by 2020, and
we want to make sure that Cirrus is well positioned to take
advantage of this unprecedented growth and leverage this phenomenal
Bingham added that Cirrus will expand in the future as necessary
-- to accommodate not only aircraft sales, but also airplane