China to further open up low-altitude airspace

Updated: 2011-11-17 17:05


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ZHUHAI - China will further relax a ban on the use of low-altitude airspace in 2012 on a trial basis, air traffic authorities said Thursday.

Starting from January next year, airspace below 1,000 meters in Northeast, Central and South China, as well as six pilot cities, will be open to general aviation flights, said Zhu Shicai, an official with the State air traffic control commission.

Zhu made the remarks at the International Forum on China Business/General Aviation, which is being held from November 17 to 18 in the city of Zhuhai in South China's Guangdong province.

The six pilot cities are Tangshan, Xi'an, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Kunming.

The area of low-altitude airspace in regions and cities to be open to general aviation flights on a trial basis accounted for 31.6 percent of that for China's total land territory.

The new policy will promote the country's general aviation industry, including the purchase and use of private planes.

China's low-altitude airspace is controlled by the Air Force and the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Private flights are required to file for approval to fly in low-altitude airspace, a time-consuming and complicated procedure that has hampered demand for private jets.

In November 2010, China's State Council and the Central Military Commission jointly released an order to open up part of the country's low-altitude airspace for the first time.