18 Mar 2014

NZ aircraft maker signs big deal

6:40 pm on 18 March 2014

A Hamilton aircraft manufacturing company has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with a Chinese firm to build aircraft for the Chinese market.

John Key, centre, visiting Beijing Automotive on Tuesday.

John Key, centre, visiting Beijing Automotive on Tuesday. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

Pacific Aerospace has invested $75 million in the joint-venture with Beijing General Aviation Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned Beijing Automotive Group.

It includes building P-750 aircraft - small 10-seater planes used for topdressing, freight, passenger and skydiving.

Pacific Aerospace's chief executive Damien Camp said in China on Tuesday deal will at least double the company current manufacturing of 12 aircraft a year.

"We've recognised that to really break into the Chinese market, you need one strong partner which we have in Beijing Automotive, but really need to have manufacturing capability and capacity in the Chinese market to really back up the central government's plans to develop the industry around general aviation. So there will be manufacturing in China."

Pacific Aerospace will continue its manufacturing in Hamilton for at least the next five years, Mr Camp said.

Prime Minister toured Beijing Automotive on Tuesday as part of his visit to China.