Earlier this year, we reported that Cessna entered into a strategic agreement with CAIGA (China Aviation Industry General Aircraft), a subsidiary of AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China), to sell, assemble and support the Cessna Caravan in Shijiazhuang, China. The agreement has now developed into a contract for a joint venture company, which in addition to the Caravan assembly may develop and assemble new utility turboprop models, Cessna said.
“As general aviation continues to grow in China, Cessna is committed to offering the right products to serve the market complemented by the company’s unparalleled customer service,” said William Schultz, Cessna’s senior vice president of business development, China.
The joint venture company, which has yet to be named, will be managed by board members from Cessna and CAIGA. The general manager will be nominated by Cessna while CAIGA will nominate the deputy general manager. The contract for the joint venture company is still subject to government approvals, a process that could take quite some time to complete.
Cessna expects operations in Shijiazhuang to commence within 12 to 18 months and the initial offering will be the 208B Grand Caravan EX. Chinese customers will have a choice of executive, cargo and commuter configurations for the interior. Final assembly, customization, paint, interior installation and flight testing will take place in China while the manufacturing of parts and subassemblies will remain in Wichita.
Cessna has made no secret about its intent to develop a new turboprop airplane. At AirVenture this summer, the company invited visitors into a mockup of a single-engine model to get feedback from potential customers about details such as range, speed, payload and creature comforts. However, a representative from Cessna said the conceptual airplane that was showcased at AirVenture is not necessarily reflective of what may be developed in China.