Chinese New Pilots & U.S. Trainer Planes
Piper Aircraft's Archer is commonly used to train new pilots.
U.S. aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft said it will sell over 150 trainer planes to Sichuan Fan-Mei Aviation Technologies Co., Ltd which runs a pilot training program at Chinese mainland.
Piper Aircraft, who makes small general aviation aircraft, based in Vero Beach Florida, will deliver 152 planes out in seven years in a deal the worth of which is $75 million. It includes the sale of 100 Archer TX single engine aircraft that is used to train new pilots.
For the current year, Piper said they plan to deliver 20 aircraft to Fan-Mei flight school in Sichuan province during the first delivery period in March. The deal was announced at the Singapore Air-show.
Piper President and CEO, Simon Caldecott, told CNBC that Asia has become a key market for his company because there is a growing demand for new pilots in that region.
"One of the things I've been looking at, and constantly monitoring, is the global shortage of new pilots," Caldecott said.
Indeed, in its 2017 pilot outlook, Boeing said that, by 2036, the Asia Pacific region will have a demand for 253,000 new pilots — about 40 percent of the global demand. Meanwhile, North America is predicted to need about 117,000 pilots and Europe about 106,000.
Overall, Boeing said, the aviation industry will need to supply more than 2 million new commercial airline pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crew.
"So there's a big demand, just in Asia, for new pilots," Caldecott said. "In the past, historically, most of those (pilots) trained in either the U.S. or Australia, some in South Africa. But as countries like China develop, they want to train more of their own."
Don Li, president of Sichuan Fan-Mei Aviation Technologies Co., Ltd, told CNBC that the deal with Piper was the biggest ever in the company's history.
He added that there were plans to order between 40 and 60 additional Piper aircraft over the next two to three years for short-haul air shuttle and personal use — that estimate could also increase according to "how we cultivate the market," Li said.
The aircraft models that Li referred to — the Piper M-Class and Seneca — are awaiting certification of China at the moment. As the company is privately owned, Fan-Mei did not receive any government subsidies to make the purchase, Li said. Sichaun Fan-Mei Aviation Technologies is a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group which provides aviation education in China to about 40,000 students. That includes training for flight attendants, aviation mechanics, airport management and security.
On top of the five locations the firm has in China, there are plans to set up in other parts of the country, Li added. Previously, Fan-Mei bought training aircraft from companies like Robinson Helicopters and Bell Helicopter, while Piper is the only
He added the company was in talks with other companies to purchase different types of aircraft to continue investing in its pilot training efforts. "This is only the start. We want to become the full-spectrum service provider for the general aviation industry," he said.
Fan-Mei Join Hands with Piper at the Singapore Air Show
As one of the three biggest aviation shows, the Singapore air show had a grand opening on February 6 at Changyi international convention and exhibition center. The show attracted numerous aircraft manufacturers to participate, including Piper Aircraft. During the exhibition, Piper held a conference among dealers in Asia Pacific.
GlobalDuring the show, Piper also hold a press conference which AIN (aviation international news), and the world's top aviation media, Flight Global (Global Flight) were present. CNBC, a leading U.S. financial news agency, ran a front-page story on the cooperation between Fan-Mei and Piper
At the same time, the General Manager of Sichuan Fan-Mei Aviation Technologies Ltd has made a speech at the BBC Asia television interview:
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen!
At Fan-Mei Aviation Technologies, we feel extremely honored and privileged to become the exclusive dealer for Piper in the greater China region.
Our company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fan-Mei Education Investment Group, the largest privately owned aviation training institution in China, with more than 40,000students in the areas of flight attendant training, aviation mechanics training, airport management, aviation security and so on.
In the past two years Fan-Mei Group has been investing heavily in pilot training and in general aviation, because we feel that GA industry in China will experience an explosive growth much sooner than most people think.
In order to lead in this market with enormous potential, we must prepare ourselves, and there are no better aircraft for training and short haul air taxi than Piper Archer, Seminole, Seneca and M-class, and most importantly for Fan-Mei, there is no better partner in Piper with its prestige and 81 years of success in the aviation industry.
On behalf of Mr. Wei, our Chairman at Fan-Mei Group's, I would like to again thank Simon and his team for the opportunity to represent Piper in China and look forward to a long and successful partnership with Piper!