Ukraine Aviation Industry Group” (UAIG)”, a subsidiary of China aviation industry corporation New Era Aviation, was established in 2016 in Ukraine. Does it indicate an increased interest of Chinese companies in Ukrainian aircraft products and a launch of a new stage of development of the aviation industry? We will discuss it with Ma Lifeng, Chairman of the Board at New Era Aviation, Edgar Ishankulov, CEO, and Oleksiy Lymarenko, General manager of the representative office in Ukraine.
Your corporation is multi-profile: you perform mountain mining, heavy machinery, metallurgy, manufacturing of parts for infrastructure sites and transport, and also in recent years have paid special attention to the development of the aviation industry. Why have you decided to focus on this area?
Ma Lifeng: International and Chinese domestic demand for aircraft grows like a beanstalk. For example, a shortage of aircraft is already becoming apparent in civil aviation. Aviation engineering is a unique and extremely exciting industry. We live in interesting times: modern technologies and innovative solutions are developing rapidly, allowing to change the equipment of aircraft, produce parts and components which are used to enhance safety, improve maneuverability of planes and helicopters. Aviation industry products are attractive to potential buyers; the scope of their use is expanding. It is an important trend, bearing in mind the overall clumsiness of the industry. Therefore, we allocate our resources to the aviation industry segment.
Edgar Ishankulov: We are licensed for manufacturing passenger and cargo aircrafts, production of helicopters; aircraft parts and unmanned aerial vehicles.
You mentioned the scale of the corporation. This magnitude requires enormous resources.
Ma Lifeng: Absolutely. Now we are in the process of an aircraft engineering base creation in the Luyanghu industrial park, Shaanxi Province. Our project became a part of the 13th Five-Year Plan of China. This is outstanding. This means that the air base as well as a whole industrial town is built under the auspices of the State. And that says a lot.
Edgar Ishankulov: I would like to elaborate on the specifics of our base in Luyanghu. This is a unique complex. It is located near the city of Weinan in Shaanxi Province for a good reason. Many different natural and economic factors come together at one point. This area is geologically stable; there is a vast river valley, which allows to perform test flights and aircraft landing on meadows, water and land. The airspace radius of 20 km, with a height of 2 km below sea level, also creates favorable conditions for test flights. In addition, the Luyanghu base is a part of economic infrastructure of Xi’an, one of the most efficient cities in China in terms of manufacturing resources. What is more, the base has a transport infrastructure which meets all its needs: it is connected to high-speed Beijing – Kunming highway on the north and Lianyungang – Khorgos on the south. Luyanghu is crossed by Yan’an highway, and three railway tracks with three stations are located near the development zone.
Ma Lifeng: Indeed, the area allows for construction of unique runways, let me emphasize, runways of the global scale. Now, for example, the internal “Pucheng” ground is at our disposal, located just 1 km from our production base. Today an airspace of 340,000 sq. m. is operating with a runway of category 2B sized 1,200 m by 35 m. In addition, a runway of category 4E, measuring 4,000 m by 85 m, is under construction in order to conduct test flights of large-size cargo and passenger aircraft. Upon its completion, the new runway will not only be unique to China for its natural and technical specifications, but also become one of the largest runways of its type in the world.
Are you ready to develop partnerships with the Ukrainian aviation industry?
Oleksiy Lymarenko: We are negotiating with quite a few industry players in Ukraine, looking for new opportunities and potential collaboration. Of course, we are ready to explore a variety of options: aircraft purchase and joint production set-up; experience exchange and consulting; investment in production of small and large aircraft, as well as special-purpose aircraft. We are interested in many areas of business. Potential of Ukrainian and Chinese aircraft industry cooperation is huge and cannot be overestimated, ranging from creation of new commercially attractive aircrafts to establishment of a joint-venture production line.
Edgar Ishankulov: I would like to emphasize that New Era Aviation plans to produce a joint Ukrainian-Chinese aircraft and launch it in the global market. Therefore, we are highly interested in successful Ukrainian companies to participate in our projects, many of which are unparalleled in their industrial segments.
Are you talking about strategic contracts?
Oleksiy Lymarenko: This is a long-term investment program which means establishment of successful joint Ukrainian-Chinese production.
Edgar Ishankulov: Ukraine is our second home and office; we are here for long.