China to enter commercial jet market in 2015

Posted on 25 Jun 2013

Airbus and Boeing have reason to celebrate after amassing a joint total of $136m in orders at the Paris Air Show last week, but now they face the prospect of Chinese competition.

In the battle between the aerospace giants, Airbus pipped Boeing to the post by a mere $4bn.

Airbus racked up a total of $70bn in orders for 466 aircraft whilst Boeing made $66bn from the sale of 442.

With aircraft companies looking to replace ageing fleets and ever increasing demand from across Asia, the two major companies are going through a golden spell.

Now China is looking to join in the party with its own plans to take a share of the airliner market.

Comac (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) is set to pitch itself against the two industry leaders with its C919 single-aisle airliner, set to fly in 2015.

This will create a competitor for Airbus and Boeing’s short haul workhorses the A320 and 737 respectively.

Tom Williams, head of programmes at Airbus, does not believe the “made in China” label will hold back the progress of Comac.

“I grew up as part of a generation which said that first about products made in Japan and then about those made in China.

“They are going to make a good product, so we can’t be complacent or dismissive.”

With the financial weight of China behind it, Comac has assembled a top team of Western aerospace players to help develop reliable passenger aircraft.

The list of suppliers for the C919 includes Honeywell, United Technologies Corporation (UTC), Bombardier, Parker Aerospace and General Electric.

With Boeing raising its 20-year forecast for demand this month, predicting airlines will need 35,280 new jets worth $4.8 trillion, China will be looking to break into the market for commercial aircraft.