Air Transport World

Quiet time.

After a period of explosive growth and intense manufacturer interest, the China aviation market is taking a breather

A government-directed order hiatus by Chinese airlines plus Western aerospace manufacturers reduced near-term expectations for the China market combined at the second biennial air show in Zhuhai to produce an event full of polite speeches and virtually devoid of commercial activity.

Two quantities were present in greater abundance at last year's show--exhibitors and visitors. An apparent disagreement between show organizers and local government officials resulted in the virtual elimination of trade days as crowds informally estimated at more than 100,000 covered the show-grounds and clogged exhibit halls every day. The steep price of admission by local Chinese standards--220RMB--made visitors hostile to the occasional suggestion by site guards that the exhibit halls were off limits to them (see box, page 58).

Few airliners were at the show. Airbus Industrie, talking up its A340-600 in briefings and on its stand, brought an A330-200 for its first Chinese appearance. Boeing, which emphasized its 717 offering with a cabin mockup and special briefings, was represented briefly when a China Southern 777 substituted on to the Zhuhai route to deal with heavy air show traffic was parked on the ramp for 6 hr. …

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