The Cessna Caravan utility aircraft has proven to be the aircraft-maker’s most successful aircraft in mainland China.

A few years ago, Cessna had huge ambitions to manufacture several different types of aircraft here, but they’ve focused on the Cessna Caravan.

“The plan has exceeded our expectations,” says Bill Schultz, Textron Aviation’s senior vice president for business development in China. “We established manufacturing capabilities in a joint venture with AVIC’s China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company (CAIGA) in Shijiazhuang, and it’s been delightful to watch progress there.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), and now we’re very close to getting our Textron Aviation production certificate extended into China.”

Next will be expansion of service capability to support the fleet of 100 Caravan aircraft that are now in China.

“The numbers have given us the critical mass to invest in parts inventory and people to support that fleet,” Schultz adds. “And once you get critical mass you build a reputation for one of the best utility aircraft ever built.”

All the Caravans that Textron Aviation ships into China are delivered through the joint venture in Shijiazhuang, which began official operations when its business license was approved in September 2013 by the Ministry of Commerce.

Schultz says the main reason for the Caravan’s success in China is its versatility.

“Our customers use it on wheels or amphibious floats for everything from commuter services to special missions such as cloud seeding, aerial mapping, aerial photography, skydiving and maritime patrol.