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China Breakthroughs: COMAC soars with C919 jumbo jets orders - 600

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

06-15-2017 14:02 BJT

Full coverage: China Breakthroughs

By Tom McGregor, CCTV.com Panview commentator and editor

The Shanghai-based airplane manufacturer, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), hit a milestone as the company had received orders of up to 600 jumbo jets from 24 buyers from home and abroad for China's first homegrown passenger jet - C919.

On Tuesday, China Everbright Financial Leasing Co. Ltd. placed an order for 20 - C919s.

COMAC is designing and building "Made in China" commercial airliners to compete against bigger rivals, such as US-based Boeing and French-based Airbus.

Shanghai is the site for COMAC's design and corporate team, while its manufacturing and assembly lines are in several major manufacturers of aircraft parts, including Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Co., Ltd, and its counterparts in Xi’an, Hongdu (Nanchang) and Shenyang.

The company has also partnered up with foreign-owned equipment and systems operators.

Honeywell supplies auxillary power units (APUs) and other equipment; Rockwell Collins teamed up with China Electronics Technology Avionics to attach communications and navigation systems for C919s.

General Electric and China Aviation Industry Corp. won the contract to set up the avionics systems.

Safety checks and certifications

COMAC had launched C919’s maiden flight last May. The 168-seat passenger jet took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, flying for 1 hour and 19 minutes in duration.

Over 3 million Chinese netizens viewed a live-streaming Webcast of the 5-member flight crew in-flight on Weibo, according to media reports.

Nevertheless, C919s must still undergo more months of flight testings to receive certification from China's aviation regulator.

By working in tandem with foreign suppliers and technicians, COMAC can upgrade its jets to meet the highest safety and manufacturing standards in the world.

The C919 is designed in a similar size to Airbus 320 and Boeing 737-800, with a narrow body-frame. They will be made available in different versions, including basic, extended, shortened, cargo, special version and corporate.

The planes can soar at a maximum altitude - 12,100-m. and flight distance range - 4,075-km.

Meeting consumer demand

According to aviation industry experts, China is expected to surpass the United States as the world's largest commercial aviation market by 2030.

Domestic carriers are increasing foreign and domestic flight routes with heavier passenger flows. To meet surging demand for the next two decades, Chinese airlines may invest US$1 trillion on new planes.

COMAC is playing a vital role to build 'Made in China' planes that are expected to cost less than Boeing and Airbus jumbo jets, but maintain rigorous safety standards.

China Eastern Airlines is scheduled to be the first carrier to fly C919s, while Air China is a major purchaser of them. COMAC also hopes to sell its jumbo jets to more foreign-based carriers as well.

COMAC already has 24 foreign and domestic customers. China Everbright Bank will invest in the company’s research and development (R&D) and marketing campaigns.

Brighter days ahead

COMAC stands poised to capture a larger share of the commercial jets aviation market. Boeing is considered expensive, while Airbus struggles to meet deadlines when delivering planes to customers.

COMAC can cut manufacturing costs and deliver planes in a timely manner, so long as the manufacturer can receive certifications. With the right strategy, the Shanghai-based plane manufacturer can achieve success in the global market.

Tmcgregorchina@yahoo.com   

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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