November 2017


At a signing ceremony in Anqing, Anhui Provence, China, on 18 November 2017, delivered to a packed room of national media, Team Yakovlevs announced a new partnership with WEIBAO (Suzhou) Investments and Fly (FU LAI) Aviation for the furtherance of Sino-Anglo aviation relationships.
The long-term partnership will see Team Yakovlevs, WEIBAO Investments and FU LAI Aviation delivering air displays, flight training and other GA activities in the UK, China and other overseas territories in an ongoing initiative to promote this dynamic sector of the aviation industry.
Under the new partnership, in addition to delivering formation aerobatic displays, the company will also be developing new flight training programmes and will be operating as a ‘centre of excellence’ for the promotion of STEM disciplines, in order to help attract the next generation of Chinese and
British pilots.

Commenting on the partnership, Jez Hopkinson, team owner and lead pilot, said: “Team Yakovlevs have been honoured to provide displays in China for over a decade and during that time we have witnessed the dramatic growth of the Chinese general aviation industry.

“China has an almost unlimited availability of infrastructure, and it also has an exemplary track record of being able to engage on new projects with great rapidity, something that the Western World tends to struggle with. Just witness the ongoing debacle over the third runway at Heathrow Airport!

“The UK holds a level of expertise that far outweighs the size of its aviation industry. In the flight training sector, graduation from a British school identifies that the pilot has been trained to the highest standards available anywhere in the world, and these pilots become valuable assets in a marketplace that has an unprecedented level of demand.

“There is a direct link therefore between Britain’s long-established ability to provide turn-key pilot and engineer training programmes, and China’s ability to fast-track such projects and provide the infrastructure to deliver it. Such partnerships are not only achievable, but also essential, if future pilot and engineer demand forecasts are to be believed.

“According to recent market figures, Britain is Europe’s second largest trade partner with China and the eighth largest globally. As we delve deeper into the Golden Era of ties between Britain and China, we have so much to offer each other and we look forward to playing our part in it.”

Ms Sharon Wang, owner of Fly (FU LAI) Aviation Ltd, commented: “This three-tier partnership is a great demonstration of the kind of relationships that China and Britain should be developing across all sectors of the aviation industry.

“As a flight-training provider, FU LAI recognises the unprecedented level of demand for new pilots, especially in China, as our airline industry continues to expand at a rapid pace. According to Boeing, China will need in the region of a quarter of a million airline pilots over the next 20 years and it will only be through international partnerships that we can meet such high levels of demand.

“As a pioneer on the Chinese air display circuit, Team Yakovlevs is recognised in China as being at the forefront of their industry and accordingly they were a natural choice to partner with on our drive to promote the aviation industry to the widest possible audience.”

Mr Shao Chen, Managing Director of WEIBAO Industries, added: “We are delighted to form this partnership to promote aviation industry ties between our two nations. We look forward to developing the partnership into a truly global campaign.”

Delivering more than 2,000 breath-taking close formation aerobatic displays over a 20-year period, Team Yakovlevs has garnered an international following, performing in front of more than two billion spectators, across three continents. The team’s pilots are some of the most experienced and respected in the world, including current and former military test pilots, ex Red Arrows pilots and international aerobatic competition winners.

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