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Cessna signs agreements with Chinese manufacturer
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 23, 2012

Aircraft manufacturer Cessna announced Friday that it was joining forces with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to manufacture a range of planes in the country.

In a statement on its website the US company said it had signed two strategic agreements to "jointly develop general and business aviation" in China.

"The agreements together pave the way for a range of business jets, utility single-engine turboprops and single-engine piston aircraft to be manufactured and certified in China," the statement read.

The first agreement is to secure joint ventures in the general aviation industry, including the development of an aircraft service network in China, while the second is a more specific pledge to enter into negotiations with the government of Chengdu to produce mid-size Cessna jets.

Cessna will be hoping to tap the growing desire for private planes in China, driven by the increasing number of billionaires in the country and eased restrictions airspace that has allowed more commercial flights.

According to the latest list published by the company Hurun, China had 271 dolllar billionaires last year, up from 189 in 2010.

The number of Chinese whose fortune exceeds 10 million yuan (1.2 million euros) jumped by 9.7 percent to reach 960,000.

"China's market potential is tremendous and therefore represents an exciting opportunity for Cessna," said the company's chief executive, Scott Ernest.

"China recognizes general aviation offers the foundation to support its national air transportation needs for the future. These agreements will help take the industry to the next level."

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