When flying with the Africa World Airlines in Ghana, boarding a Xinzhou passenger plane in Cameroon, or wandering the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya, people seldom realize that civil aviation cooperation between China and Africa are deepening rapidly.
By 2014, China has signed air transport agreement with 23 African nations, according to Chinese civil aviation authority. Eight African airlines has started transport service to China, with 52 flights scheduled every week.
The number of passengers flying between China and Africa is estimated to increase 15 percent every year, hitting 1.5 million in 2014.
In 2010, China’s Hainan Airlines and China-Africa Development Fund set up a joint venture Africa World Airlines with Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust, the first of its kind. The airline currently mainly focuses on domestic flight in Ghana, but has announced plans to expand to Nigeria, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire.
As for infrastructure, what the Chinese are good at, by 2014, at least 17 sub-Saharan African countries have or will have Chinese-built airports.
During his visit to Africa last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing encourages Chinese enterprises to form joint ventures with African counterparts to improve Africa’s regional aviation industry.
China has since moved forward to push cooperation further on co- founded airlines, technology and aircraft export.
China will provide African countries with 100 scholarships on aviation study, Wang Zhiqing, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China said when addressing the African civil Aviation Commission in Senegal two months after Premier Li’s speech. He also promised to further cooperate with Africa on infrastructure, training and security.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said January it will give full cooperation to the move.
On Thursday, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China delivered two China’s domestic-made Xinzhou-60 aircraft to Cameroon, the second batch after 2012, and South Africa has signed deal to purchase 10 Xiaoying-500s in 2014.
Flag carrier Air China has made plans to start flight between Beijing and Johannesburg in June, three times a week. Flight linking Beijing and Addis Ababa will begin in October. While Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines already started flight to Mauritius last year.
Last year, China-Africa Development Fund and Hainan Airlines signed a MoU with Kenya’s Astral Aviation to support its development in the East Africa area.
The cooperation will expand, according to China’s civil aviation authority, far beyond airport and aircraft. Multiple industries will benefit, education will be promoted, and transportation optimized. Enditem