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Important stepping stone in Slovenia–China relations on aviation

The Minister of Infrastructure Dr Peter Gašperšič and State Secretary Jure Leben attended the ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the Pipistrel factory in Jurong. Thanks to the Ministry of Instructure’s invaluable contribution, in April 2016 the Slovenian and Chinese Civil Aviation Agencies concluded a technical agreement permitting the Slovenian company Pipistrel to produce ultra-light aircraft for the Chinese market and to construct a factory for their production in China.

The EUR 350 million Jurong Aviation Park Project, to be finished in seven years, will include an aviation centre with commercial and residential facilities and an aircraft factory for the production of Pipistrel Aircraft. Pipistrel's general director, Mr Boscarol, said that production would focus on ultra-light Panthera aircraft with either electric motor or hybrid propulsion; however, the company's vision is to provide environmentally friendly aircraft to respond to the needs of green air transport.
 
The agreement, supported by the Slovenian Government, enables and facilitates procedures of mutual recognition of type approvals for ultra-light aircraft, thus allowing for faster procedures for importing or exporting individual aircraft, said Minister Gašperšič. The above agreement has already been the basis for the Chinese Public civil Aviation Agency to type-approve four Pipistrel aircraft. "Slovenia is very proud of Pipistrel, its manufacturer of ultra-light aircraft, and of its achievements" said Mr Gašperšič adding that this is the right time to enhance our relations with China in the field of civil aviation too, which will also have positive effects on other parts of our economy, and in particular tourism.
 
"There is no impediment to establishing a regular air service between Slovenia and China" said State Secretary Jure Leben, adding that the relevant agreement providing for the establishment of a regular international air service has already been signed. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the countries in 2016 laid down key operational requirements to enable air carriers from the two countries to establish regular air services between Slovenia and China as soon as possible.
 
Slovenia and China signed in February a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in transport and infrastructure, confirming the good cooperation between the countries. This was highlighted also by the State secretary Jure Leben, who earlier this week attended in Beijing the 13th meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic and commercial cooperation between China and Slovenia, where he presented several projects that are being carried out at the bilateral level, such as cooperation with the Airport of Maribor owned by the Chinese company SHS Aviation Slovenija. He said that cooperation between the countries was especially good in maritime transport, and called for closer cooperation between the ports of Koper and Ningbo. Ningbo is one of the major ports, and it is almost entirely automated.