Sept. 15, 2014

Listen to an NBAA Flight Plan podcast on China’s proposed Superior Aviation Town.

There are a number of towns in the United States where business aviation is big business, such as Wichita, KS or Savannah, GA, for instance. But what about a town dedicated to general aviation, from the airport, to the convention center, to the places people live?

That is the concept behind China’s plan for a city it calls Superior Aviation Town, an idea that intrigues NBAA Vice President, Regulatory and International Affairs Doug Carr.

“The town increases business aviation capacity in a country where that’s going to be a big need,” Carr said, pointing out that right now, business aircraft that fly into Chinese cities like Beijing or Shanghai must compete for slots with airlines, both domestic and international.

Superior Aviation Town, to be constructed in the Shunyi District, approximately 11 miles northeast of Beijing, is named for Superior Air Parts, the Dallas, TX-based company bought by a Chinese entity five years ago. According to its website, the town would be home to a general aviation airport with a 7,800-foot-long runway, and would also have a convention center dedicated to general aviation. The town’s backers and the Chinese government plan to make the town a haven for international investment in hopes of sparking global interest in the aviation-related businesses that would call the city home.

“It’ll be interesting to watch,” Carr said. “I really hope it succeeds, because not only do we need the capacity for aircraft to fly into Beijing, but knowing how general aviation is growing in China and throughout Asia, the manufacturing capacity has got to be a help.”

Not only would the runway be reserved for general aviation traffic, but early indications are that the airport in Superior Aviation Town would be geared toward the needs of business aircraft operators.

“We’re talking about an FBO model of service here, a single entity coordinating all services, from fueling to catering,” Carr reported.

How soon might Superior Aviation Town become a reality? China plans to have the airport and much of the city operational in just two years.

“In the U.S., building a runway alone takes between 10 and 12 years. To go from zero to an airport and a town in two years is really a monumental challenge,” Carr said. “But if the Chinese people put their minds to it, that will be an amazing accomplishment.”