Over the years, 1995-2001, that the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade's Aviation and Airport Infrastructure Subgroup has been in existence, it has organized a number of symposiums, training seminars and trade events during which Chinese government and private decision makers have had the opportunity to meet and be exposed to their counterparts in the U.S. govemment and aerospace industry. Some of these fora have been more conducive to expanding U.S. aviation and airport-related trade with China, and some of the training seminars provided topics and training more relevant to China's needs, than others. And, as relations and friendships within the Subgroup have developed, the Chinese members have become more open and frank in discussing China's aviation and airport deficiencies and needs, and requesting assistance in alleviating those problems.
Airport Development & Modernization
March 1996 Airport Development and Management Seminar: The first of its kind held in China, the Seminar provided valuable opportunities for its Chinese and U.S. attenders to discuss ideas on airport development and management, and to have the opportunity to meet each other and establish nascent business relationships. While overly broad and complex for its audience, it still afforded Chinese participants a peek at the vast U.S. expertise in this field, and whetted their appetites for further interactions. Recommendation: At the time that the Seminar was held, CAAC and Chinese airport officials were not able to absorb the full range, scope and depth of the topics covered. TDA funding provided for smaller seminars, focused more narrowly - in essence, smaller bites of information focused on single topics useful for CAAC Airport Department and Chinese city and airport officials. Areas of concentration which still need to be targeted include: airport management training, airport financing, concessions & retail, and design and development.
1998, 1999 and 2000 "Special Program for China" Seminars: Co-sponsored by CAAC, DOC, FAA, ACC, AAAE and ACI-NA and held in conjunction with ACI-NA's annual meetings, the seminars were more focused on China's airport needs, including a presentation by the leader of the Chinese delegation on the country's plans for airport modernization, development and upgrades. U.S. industry met one-on-one with the delegation to discuss their interests in participating in these projects, and to outline their abilities to serve China's airport infrastructure markets. Recommendation: TDA could provide funding to continue and expand the program, and add airport reverse trade missions ("study tours") to either the beginning or the end of the "Special Program for China" to allow the Chinese delegation to see in situ the products and processes it discussed with U.S. government, company and airport officials during the Program.
Part 139 Training: CAAC has requested that Part 139 Training be included in the Subgroup's annual Work Program. This training is conducted by FAA with CAAC providing in-country lodging and meals. Recommendation: Continue the annual training in China. TDA could provide funding for FAA experts' travel to China, and lodging and meals in China. In addition, TDA could provide funding for Chinese airport officials in country travel to the training site, and their lodging and meals at the site.
November 1999 Forecasting Conference: At the request of CAAC, a "How to Forecast" Seminar was conducted in China, by U.S. airline, airport and air cargo experts. The Seminar focused on forecasting passenger growth, airport growth, and cargo growth. It was an overwhelming success, but highlighted the glaring fact that Chinese airlines and airports lack the fundamental statistics to accurately forecast and effectively plan for growth. Recommendation: Hold a follow-on seminar in China which would build upon the previous success. TDA could fund travel/lodging/meal expenses of the U.S. speakers.
Airline Management/Best Practices: Modern airline management focused on best practices, efficient operations and competitiveness has yet to be offered to CAAC and Chinese airlines although it is needed, especially in light of the current consolidation Chinese airlines are undergoing. Recommendation: TDA should fund a series of seminars on these topics for Chinese airlines.
Air Traffic Control
1996, 1998, and 1999 ATC "Reverse" Trade Mission: CAAC's Air Traffic Management Bureau (ATMB) participated in the Air Traffic Control Association's (ATCA) Annual Meeting, International Technical Program & Exhibits with a small delegation led by ATMB's Director General who also spoke during the International Technical Program. China is one of the world's largest potential markets for U.S. ATC manufacturers, and this event provides relationship building as well as a status report on China's ATC development plans. Recommendation: Continue Chinese participation in the event. TDA could fund the in-country expenses of the Chinese delegation.
Best Practices, Operations Management & System Integration: CAAC/ATMB's inability to identify and develop criteria for requests for proposal (RFP) severely hampered the agency's ability to evaluate the responses it received during the Area Control Center competition. In addition, elements within CAAC/ATMB are not aware of basic fundamentals such as the necessity of interoperability of a country's ATC system, and need for including provisions for on-going training and long-term availability of training, maintenance, and replacement of spare parts. Recommendation: Fund training for Chinese evaluators and decision makers in these areas by a internationally recognized, neutral entity such as MITRE.
Business Aviation Development:
Business Aviation Seminars: Business Aviation Seminars were organized in conjunction with the Zhuhai Air Show in 1998 and 2000. The 1998 Seminar was the first held in China, and gave many CAAC and PLAAF (Peoples' Liberation Army Air Force) officials their first brush with business aviation, and a faint inkling of what may evolve in China. Airspace for business aviation is severely restricted by the PLAAF, and, in fact, general aviation does not exist in China. (With one exception, there are no privately owned business aircraft in China. Business aviation consists of charter services offered by China Southern, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines.) Recommendation: TDA provide funding to conduct these seminars.
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