China is aiming high and wants to secure a major part of the multi-billion dollar market by strengthening and expanding homegrown passenger planes.
Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) said on Tuesday it has received orders for two of its palnes: C919 and ARJ21.
The C919 is a narrow-body plane with 158-168 seats depending upon layout and configurations. There are 30 confirmed orders for that as we speak.
The ARJ21 is a small size plane with capacity of 78-90 seats with 20 orders. Bothe planes have to enter full scale commercial production.
China is also seeking suppliers to build a new wide-body passenger plane, the C929, over the next decade. If done right, it will begin rivalry with Boeing and Airbus as per industry officials.
Despite the optimism, industry officials also see some main problems in the short-term which should be dealt amicably like: strict controls on airspace and a corruption crackdown.
“The Chinese economy has been slowing, it has been impacting the development of the civil aviation industry,” said Chen of Airbus. But he further added: “A growth rate of six or seven per cent, compared to the other parts of the world, is still very impressive.”
China’s economic growth — which has a direct correlation with air traffic — eased to 7.3 per cent in July-September, the lowest since the depths of the global crisis in early 2009.
Chinese people and foreigners faced massive flight delays across the country in July which were mainly due to military exercises, cast the spotlight on another problem — controls on airspace that leave only 20 per cent of China’s skies open to civil flights.
China really needs to fix its air traffic management issues otherwise it will continue to have economic impact.
China’s leader Xi Jinping has started a massive crackdown against corruption right after he came to power in late 2012. It has also hit the aviation market. Government officials stopped flying higher classes, prompting two Chinese airlines to cut or remove first-class seats. China is also a market where owning an aircraft is often viewed as a needless luxury.
Source: Gulf News