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Wichita group looking at prospects for aviation in China

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, at 7:49 a.m.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer signed a memo of understanding this week with Mayor Ma Yi from the City of Zhengzhou in China to explore opportunities in general aviation.

Zhengzhou, located in central China, has been sanctioned by the Chinese national government to develop a general aviation zone, according to information from Karyn Page, president and CEO of Kansas Global Trade Services.

Wichita has agreed to share expertise in training programs, in fixed-based operation (FBO) management and operations, and in maintenance and repair, Page said in an e-mail from China.

“This is an important step in branding Wichita as the Air Capital of the World in China,” Brewer said in a statement. “Powerful brands in China increase awareness leading to increased sales.”

Page and Brewer are part of a Wichita delegation on a five-city, 12-day business development trip to China. One goal of the trip is to build business relationships in the general aviation industry.

“In China, all meaningful relationships begin with the government, and all business is founded on relationships,” Page said.

With the signing of the non-binding agreement, “Wichita has opened the door to a fresh relationship in which both cities can experience benefits – Zhengzhou gets to work with the Air Capital in developing its own aviation center, and Wichita gets to walk through a door armed with education (through the National Center for Aviation Training) aircraft parts and aircraft to sell,” she said.

Local leaders hope to identify new opportunities for exports for aviation and other products during their meetings. They also will focus on re-establishing the city’s three-decade sister city relationship with Kaifeng, China.

A meeting with Superior Aviation Beijing chairman Cheng Shenzong on Monday was canceled by Superior, which had been in negotiations to buy Hawker Beechcraft Corp. Those negotiations fell apart and Hawker Beechcraft announced Thursday that it will emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a stand-alone company, without its jet business, which it will sell or close.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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