Updated: 2011-01-07 11:01
By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily European Weekly)
COMAC looks set to pose stiff challenge to Boeing, Airbus in commercial aircraft manufacturing sector
The global aviation industry is expected to see increasing competition in the next few years as China gets ready to challenge the supremacy of global commercial aircraft giants like Airbus SAS and Boeing Co with its homegrown airliners. Though the nation has been making the right strides in the past few years, analysts are still skeptical on whether Chinese firms will be able to make timely deliveries of big aircraft.
The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) has made a significant breakthrough in the global commercial aircraft market by winning orders for 100 single-aisle C919 passenger jets from domestic and international customers.
The prototype of the 150-seater aircraft was displayed at the Zhuhai Air show in November and company officials expressed confidence that the C919 trial flights will start in 2014, followed by the first delivery in 2016.
China currently accounts for 22 percent of Airbus' 2010 orders and 15 percent of Boeing's orders. COMAC wants to spur the aviation industry by effectively competing with the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737.
Much of COMAC's ambitions also stem from the government's plan to transform China as an aviation major capable of making jumbo jets, regional planes, business jets, propeller planes and helicopters all at home. That in turn is expected to have a positive impact on a host of allied industries related to the aviation industry.
An airplane consists of thousands of parts and a majority of them require sophisticated technologies. This will benefit the development of industrial segments like material sciences and electronic technologies.
Airplane manufacturing offers huge returns especially in gross domestic product terms, much larger than making a car, says Armand Cao, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan in Shanghai.
"By making large commercial airliners, China wants to send out a signal that it is not a manufacturer of cheap or copycat products, but rather a maker of high-end and innovative goods."
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