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Contracts worth $40 billion were signed by Nov 3 -- a record 40 percent increase over two years ago -- during three trade days of Airshow China 2016. Once again China's biennial exposition in Zhuhai has proven to be a definitive venue for international communication and cooperation in the aviation, aerospace, and defense industries.
This year's event set new records in exhibition scale with a greater number of international participants. At least 700 exhibitors from 42 countries and regions attended, 45 percent from abroad. Meanwhile, more government and military trade delegations, including 100 delegations from European, American, Asian, and African countries, took part.
Foreign traders at Airshow China [Photo by Zhong Fan/Zhuhai Daily]
Many business events took place, including the 8th China International Aviation & Aerospace Summit, China General Aviation Forum 2016 -- UAV Forum, and General Aviation Development in South Central China. The State Administration of Science, Technology & Industry for National Defense hosted the Meeting of Heads of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Space Authorities as a part of a series of events to celebrate the 60th anniversary of China's aviation industry.
During trade days, conferences and business activities were held by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation (CASC), China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp (CASIC), China South Industries Group Corporation (CSIGC), China Electronics Corporation (CEC), and China Aviation Engine Group (CAEG).
On opening day, aircraft purchase agreements were signed for around 163 billion yuan ($24 billion). CASC inked 35 sales and preliminary pacts while Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) contracted the purchase of 40 ARJ21-700s and 20 ARJ21-700s. On the second day, China Southern Airlines ordered engines costing $1.8 billion from Rolls-Royce and GE Aviation.
During the Zhuhai General Aviation Investment Environment Promotion event held on Nov 1, 18 projects valued at 5.28 billion yuan ($779 million) were agreed to, covering complete aircraft, components, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), general aviation operations, and other related business.
Aviation enterprises also found business opportunities. Cirrus Aircraft, a subsidiary of AVIC, officially announced that its single-engine Cirrus Vision SF50 had received certification from the FAA and therefore signed the first preliminary agreement at a press conference.
At the signing ceremony hosted by Zhuhai Aviation Industrial Park on Nov 2, newly established Guangdong Youyi Aviation Technology sold 20 flight simulators worth 7 million yuan (more than $1 million). Zhuhai Hangtai Technology signed a cooperation framework agreement for light sports aircraft with CAIGA.
The increased scale of Airshow China received praise from foreign exhibitors. For instance, marking his third attendance at Airshow China, Dr Alan Epstein, vice president of Technology & Environment at Pratt & Whitney, said he could measure the progress each time.
China is becoming an aviation industrial development center in the Asia Pacific region with the prospect of 7,000 additional aircraft required to meet demand over the next two decades.
The next China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, or Airshow China 2018, has been announced to take place on Nov 6-11, 2018.