| Conan Ju | 06 August 2012 | Shanghai, China |
China has been at the forefront of economic, infrastructure, and real estate growth in the past decade. However, it still trails significantly in the area of civilian aviation. For example, only 20% of China’s airspace is available to commercial carriers as opposed to 80% in the U.S. China recognizes the increasing need to expand civilian airspace for commercial and civil aviation use. To address the issues brought by the rapid demand and growth of the aviation industry, in 2011, China’s Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has announced the “12th Five-Year Plan for Civil Aviation Development”. By 2015, the air transport turnover of civil aviation will reach 99 billion ton-km, the air passenger transport 450 million person-times and air freight transport 9 million tons, up by 13%, 11% and 10% respectively. According to the plan, 56 airports will be built within the next 5 years. By 2015, the total number of airports in China will exceed 230, covering 94% of the national economic growth, 83% of the population and 81% of the county-level administrative units. China’s 1.5 trillion yuan ($236 billion, 174 billion euros) investment in infrastructure is expected to vastly increase the number of commercial aircraft, private civilian aircraft including jets and helicopters, and consequentially, the number of pilots. [See Shanghai Securities News, 12thFive-year Plan for Civil Aviation Development Released, Mar. 12, 2011, 2:39 PM, http://english.cnstock.com/enghome/homecompanies/201104/1250601.htm ; see also Meng Jing, Ready for takeoff, China Daily, Mar. 10, 2011, 8:42 AM, http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2011-10/14/content_13896307.htm]
In addition to Shanghai Yi Man Law Firm, I am also currently interning at Shanghai Easyfly Aviation Technology, Co. Ltd. (hereinafter “Easyfly”), an aviation company that seeks to capitalize on China’s next boom in the civilian aviation sector. As a result of the CAAC’s 5-year plan ending in 2015, an estimated 16,0000 additional pilots will be employed (there are roughly 24,000 total pilots in China as of 2010). One of Easyfly’s operations, in a nutshell, is to recruit pilot candidates in China, then place them in U.S. aviation programs and flight schools where they will receive degrees in aviation and obtain commercial pilot licenses. Although the CAAC recognizes FAA licenses, there is a significant hurdle of converting an FAA license to one that may be used in China. Easyfly offers its students commercial license conversion, job placement assistance, and an array of other services. Many Chinese students are drawn to the allure of studying overseas in the U.S and obtaining high level training and employment opportunities. While I mostly do interpreting work for Easyfly, I have also drafted and negotiated a contract with an American University and flight school.
For the last two weeks of my summer break, I will be doing a bit of travelling and sightseeing. First, I will be visiting Beijing where I will finally be able to explore the Forbidden City, visit the National Museum of China, and sample some unusual cuisine at the Donghuamen Night Market. From there, I plan on travelling to either Taiwan or Hong Kong (in part because I still have not seen “The Dark Knight Rises” because it is not yet been released in mainland China… so if you are reading this, please, no spoilers).
This will be my last entry for the summer. I would like to thank Professor McGuinness for introducing the concept of Field Notes and also Josh for putting it all together. I would also like to thank all the correspondents around the globe for sharing their experiences and writing interesting and informative field notes. It has been a pleasure and I hope everyone enjoys the remainder of the summer break.