Foreign Investment Panel Decides in Favor of ICON Aircraft’s Current Chinese Ownership

The CFIUS determination is based on the A5’s limited utility for potential military applications.

The OEM was under scrutiny resulting, in part, from questions potential military applications of the A5. [Courtesy: ICON Aircraft]

ICON Aircraft can continue under its current ownership structure, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. determined, paving the way for the manufacturer of the A5 seaplane to move forward. 

The OEM was under scrutiny resulting from questions regarding its Chinese ownership and the potential military applications of the A5.

In a report Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, a letter sent by the Treasury Department—which steers CFIUS—was referenced that indicated the committee had “concluded its review of a Chinese firm’s nearly 47 percent stake in a U.S. aircraft startup, determining there are ‘no unresolved national security concerns’ with the deal.”

That result was confirmed to FLYING by a source close to the shareholders. The outcome is based on the premise that the A5 is not suitable for further modifications to maximum gross weight, powerplant, or operating parameters that would make it desirable in military applications.

Chinese entity Shanghai Pudong Science and Technology Investment Co. (PDSTI) holds a roughly 47-percent stake in the company. A lawsuit brought by minority shareholders in ICON is a separate matter and continues. 

FLYING reached out to ICON for further comment, to which they responded: “We’re pleased to confirm that after a months-long, thorough, and comprehensive investigation, CFIUS has cleared PDSTI’s investment in ICON Aircraft. 

“ICON will now be able to focus even more on doing what we do best—manufacturing and selling the incredible ICON A5 amphibious light sport aircraft. We will continue our operations and plan to increase our pace of sales and marketing activity as we approach our peak sales season.”

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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