Maine – Flying with you around the world

Portland, April 23, 2017 – Since the first civil aircraft became commercially viable in 1914, the average number of flights has grown to 32 million worldwide, and aviation has become a significant part in our daily life. At present, the aviation industry transports over 3 billion passengers and 50 million tons of cargo per year, and annual output value has reached roughly 2.4 trillion dollars.

As one of the world’s most populated countries and among the fastest growing economies, China’s civil aviation industry has maintained a growth rate of over 10% in the past few years. After 30 years of development, China has become the world’s second largest aviation market, as the number of passenger and cargo transport has grown along with demand.

Nevertheless, there is still a sizeable gap between the developed countries and China in the general aviation industry. According to the U.S. General Aircraft Manufacturing Industry Association, the US tops the list of global general aviation aircraft inventory with 204,000 out of 360,000, or 56.7%. The U.S. has over 2,560 general airports, some 380,000 professional and technical workers, as well as 24.8 million annual flight hours. China’s current general-purpose aircraft is only 1% that of the United States, indicating that general aviation has significant growth potential.

In addition, a shortage of pilots has resulted in a bottleneck in the development of China’s aviation. According to the principal of Civil Aviation Flight University of China, Mr. Ge Zhibin, public transport aviation in China needs approximately 6,000 new pilots each year; however, due to lack of training equipment and facilities, only about 3,000 pilots can be trained in China and the remainder train abroad.

The state of Maine has a long history in aviation and is well-known for its quality precision manufacturing.  Aviation enterprises manufacture a wide variety of top-quality aerospace products, ranging from thermal insulation and hydraulic sensors to aircraft engines and landing systems, all combined to raise the state’s exports in the sector by 30% in 2016. In addition, prime location, diverse transportation infrastructure, dedicated and skilled workforce, and first-class R&D position Maine as a hub in the dynamic 21st century global aerospace industry.

Maine has no sales or use tax on aircraft purchases and parts. This supportive tax structure has attracted many industry leaders such as Pratt & Whitney Group, Lufthansa Technik, C&L Aviation Group, etc. C&L Aviation Group is a global aviation services and aftermarket-support provider ranging from interior refurbishment, structural and avionics modifications to component repair. The company has a new $5 million headquarters and is opening a 17,000-square-foot painting hangar.

The state’s educational offerings include industry-specific skills training programs from flight instruction to maintenance and repair. The University of Maine at Augusta, in collaboration with Maine Instrument Flight, launched the “UMA Bachelor of Science in Aviation” program. MIF is a highly regarded, FAA-certified, pilot training school located in Augusta, Maine,  has been training pilots since 1946. Students can receive a bachelor’s degree in aviation, as well as become an FAA accredited pilot. Furthermore, due to the relatively low public tuition at the University of Maine, the pilot training program is less expensive than other similar programs. Financial aid can also reduce costs for eligible students.

Maine’s aviation industry is one of several investment opportunities in the state that will be shared with participants attending the 2017 World Forum for FDI organized by Conway, May 22-24 in Shanghai.  State of Maine representatives will also be on hand to provide information on opportunities in advanced materials, clean-tech, and life sciences. We look forward to seeing you there.

Find out about Maine’s investment opportunities from Maine International Trade Center (MITC).  MITC has developed a new project book designed for Chinese investment attraction and soon will be available to the public. To learn more please contact, Invest in Maine China representative Maggie Chin.