BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- China will open part of its low-altitude airspace for aviation in an orderly manner to promote the country's general aviation sector, including for private planes, a report in Monday's People's Liberation Army Daily said.
According to a circular jointly issued by the State Council and the Central Military Commission, the country's low-altitude airspace will be divided into three sections: (1) areas under control (2) areas under surveillance (3) areas where aircraft can fly freely after reporting their flight plan in advance.
Previous regulations put low-altitude airspace throughout China under control, which meant private planes had to apply for permission in advance for every flight and then wait for approval, which often took a long time.
The circular urged an efficient management and operation mechanism to enable the development of the general aviation sector.
Over the next five to 10 years, China will build a mechanism of regulations, services, infrastructure, pilot training facilities and flight safety monitoring facilities, according to the circular.
According to the circular, the open airspace reform will be trialed in some areas by 2011. They will then be expanded to other parts of the country.
General aviation is the use of aircraft for purposes other than those of airlines, the military and police.
In addition to private planes, promoting general aviation will benefit the use of planes in industry, agriculture, medical treatment and science.
China's airspace is not fully utilized. As of the end of 2008, China had 898 aircraft for general aviation use, whereas registered general aviation planes in the United States numbered 222,000, the newspaper said.