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Jumbo jet project boon to suppliers
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"We believe they will give us an opportunity, as joint ventures, for both XAIC and Goodrich to participate in the C919," Goodrich President and CEO Marshall Larsen said.

Meanwhile, China is speeding up independent development of aero-engines, so that China-made engines can power C919 as soon as possible.

The first domestically developed engine for C919 is expected to be ready in 2016, and efforts will follow to develop a series of aero-engines, Wang Zhilin, deputy general manager of AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co Ltd (ACAE), said yesterday.

ACAE General Manager Zhang Jian said the company has completed its engine development plan, which is being examined by experts and will soon be delivered to the State Council for approval.

The Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald reported yesterday that the C919 project could bring nearly US$200 billion to suppliers by 2050.

Citing industry information, the report said China needs 1,600 new jumbo jets, worth US$150 billion to US$180 billion, by 2020.

By 2050, China will need more than 3,000 new planes, which, together with other smaller aircraft and freight planes, will be worth US$350 billion to US$400 billion.

Zhou Jisheng, deputy designer of the C919, was quoted as saying that the parts on bidding, such as engines and airborne equipment, could amount to 50 percent of the cost for manufacturing a jumbo plane in the case of the Boeing 787.

Therefore, suppliers could get nearly US$200 billion from the C919 project, the newspaper said.

The homemade jet has been set to take its maiden flight in 2014, and acquire airworthiness approval and be delivered to customers in 2016. COMAC will develop cargo carriers and business jets in the future.

China has been the world's fastest-growing aircraft market. According to statistics released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, more than 193 million passengers traveled by air last year, compared to 186 million in 2007.

The combined fleet of the country's air companies has risen to 1,961 from 1,591 civil aircraft in 2007.

(China Daily August 27, 2009)

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