Delegates from Xi’an, China, visited with Wichita officials on Thursday to sign a memorandum of understanding that the two cities will develop economic and trade opportunities centered on aviation.
Areas that officials will work on with the Chinese delegates include supply chain localization, education, training, airport management, financial services support and bilateral investment, according to the memorandum.
The deal comes as the Chinese government considers opening the country to general aviation. Now, only commercial and military aircraft are authorized to fly over the country.
“We need general aviation aircraft. It’s because of current policy that we cannot develop the business. But it will be developed,” He Liang, director and researcher for Shaanxi Aviation Economic and Technological Development Zone, said through a translator.
“We need to develop this industry, and you have sophisticated expertise. (We want) to learn from you and you can develop the market in China for local companies.”
The Chinese have seen the success of the general aviation industry in the United States and hope to replicate that, He said.
“When people have the money to buy their own aircraft, they want to fly it,” he said. “With that, the infrastructure and the service industry will also be established, so it’s a whole industry being developed.”
Mayor Carl Brewer said the new relationship will benefit Wichita because the Chinese will think first about Wichita companies before those in other parts of the world.
“We’re certainly looking forward to getting our businesses there and connecting our businesses with their businesses as we start moving forward,” Brewer said.
“This is a more direct way to know about companies in Wichita. I believe that with this cooperation our company will have a great future,” said JunLi Zheng, vice president of Xi’an Nagu-Sky General Aviation Co.
The Chinese delegates were also planning a tour of Beechcraft and Cessna while in Wichita.