On 24. September 2016, a Slovenian company Pipistrel d.o.o. Ajdovscina and Chinese company Sino GA Group Co. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a long-term joint-venture cooperation in the field of light and general aviation in the regions of China, East Asian countries and Asian pacific.
Official presentation of the cooperation was held on 2nd November 2016 at 10:00 AM, at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhu Hai, the biggest Air show in China where at the booth of Sino Group & Flying tigers, the General distributor of Pipistrel for China, three Pipistrel aircraft are displayed.
The deal involves setting up a new company in China to manufacture electric aircraft including the Alpha Electro and Panthera Hybrid models. The production capacity is expected to exceed 500 aircraft per year.
The seven-year project will include the construction of new centers with production facilities for both aircraft models as well as a runway, plus a maintenance and training facility for both models in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province and Yinchuan. The combined value of the project is more than 500 million EUR ($547 million U.S. dollars). Pipistrel will use a part of proceeds for the development of a new zero-emission 19-seat aircraft powered by hybrid electric technology and hydrogen low-temperature fuel cells planned for public transportation between the cities in China and all over the world.
The Chinese company will have the rights to sell the aircraft in Chinese territory and in neighboring countries, namely Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Korea, and Mongolia.
The contract also includes the delivery of 50 of each aircraft model, all required knowledge of assembly for the two models, training of personnel in Slovenia (where Pipistrel is located), implementing the assembly process in the new Chinese facilities, and supervision of newly established production for quality assurance.