Cessna to develop business jets with China's AVIC

Cessna Aircraft Co, owned by Textron Inc, plans to develop business jets with the state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, (AVIC), which according to analysts, comes as the latest sign of China's growing importance in the global aviation industry.

The announcement comes as Cessna of Wichita, Kansas, is set to become the first US aircraft maker to make business jets in China, the fastest-growing market for the multimillion-dollar planes.

Scott Donnelly, chief executive of Cessna's parent company, US conglomerate Textron Inc said the company believed China represented a significant opportunity for growth.

Plans for the joint venture, which includes a partnership with the city of Chengdu in western Sichuan province, involve building a manufacturing base to make existing Cessna aircraft models. The next phase, would see China develop its first business jet to be sold abroad.

According to Donnelly, it was intended to be a global product and one the company would take around the world.

The collaboration underlines the rapid rise of China's business aviation sector, which saw its fleet nearly triple in the last four years as wealth increased with government support. The rapid expansion however might outstrip the supply of pilots in the coming years according to industry officials.