TIANJIN, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- China will build a
commercial helicopter production base here, local authorities said Monday.
The Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AICC), the
country's largest helicopter maker, signed an agreement with the municipal
government last week to start work on the base in the first half of this year,
said Feng Zhijiang, head of the Tian Free Trade Zone.
The cost will be about 8 billion yuan (1.2 billion
U.S. dollars), Feng said.
The new China Aviation Industry Helicopters Corp.
Ltd. will include a headquarters, a research and development base, assembly
facilities and customer services, Feng told the ongoing Tianjin people's
The new company will focus on medium and heavy helicopters,
filling a void in the domestic market. Sales are forecast to reach
30 billion to 40 billion yuan within 10 years.
Two helicopters are expected to be assembled this
year, Feng said.
China needs about 3,000 helicopters in the next 20
years but has only about 100 civilian craft, said Fang Yong, AICC deputy general
China made developing helicopters and other aircraft
a top priority of the 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010).