100 orders for China's first jetliner

2010-11-16 12:56

Zhuhai - China announced a 100-aircraft order for its first commercial jetliner, a first step in its ambitions to challenge Airbus and Boeing for a slice of a global market worth $1.7 trillion.

State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac), unveiled the orders at the country's largest air show on Tuesday, ending a dearth of orders in the two years since it launched designs for the 150-seat C919.

As air travel expands with a billion Chinese predicted to be flying for business and leisure early next decade, China wants to reduce its reliance on foreign planes and foster a domestic industry worthy of a country capable of putting a man in space.

Comac said the orders came from four Chinese airlines, which was no surprise given government encouragement for the project, but also the leasing arm of General Electric, which will supply the C919 engines together with France's Safran.

It is the first time buyers have committed to the aircraft, which Comac expects to start building next year, followed by a maiden flight in 2014 and first delivery in 2016.

"The customer signing lays a market foundation for the C919, which has smoothly entered the engineering development phase," Comac chairperson Zhang Qingwei said in a statement.

Sales target of 2 000

Officials did not give a value for the deal or break down the orders by airline.

A similar deal for Airbus or Boeing jets would be worth about $7bn at list prices, but aircraft are normally sold at a discount of at least 20% and analysts said China would have to work hard to woo foreign airlines.

Comac aims to sell 2 000 C919 aircraft but engine maker CFM International, co-owned by GE and Safran, said it expected about half that. This is still a third of the market forecast by Boeing for aircraft in that size category over 20 years.

China is just one potential challenger for Airbus and Boeing with Russia, Brazil, Canada and Japan all working on designs.

But Airbus signalled it would fight to maintain its position as the world's largest aircraftmaker ahead of Boeing.

"We were born into competition 40 years ago and now we are number one. Frankly we are used to it. Where's the big deal?" Airbus's top China executive Laurence Barron told reporters.

Foreign scepticism

Separately European-based Airbus announced an order for two A330s and six A321s from TransAsia Airways.


As the country's first homegrown large commercial aircraft to enter full development, the C919 is intended to compete with Boeing's 737 and Airbus's A320 in the narrow-body segment. Boeing expects that segment to generate total worldwide sales of more than 21 000 aircraft worth $1.7 trillion over the next 20 years.

Analysts said foreign airlines would be sceptical about buying the plane until it had proven itself in service, but Tuesday's signing is the biggest breakthrough for the politically sensitive project since it was launched in 2008.

Sales of a smaller regional jet, the ARJ21, which makes its debut at the show, have been described as disappointing.

An attempt to mimic the Boeing 707 with the Shanghai Y-10 foundered in the 1970s due to a backward-looking design and never got past prototype stage but the C919 aims to use some of the new fuel-saving technologies available to Airbus and Boeing.

Buyers for the C919 announced on Tuesday included the country's three top airlines Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, as well as HNA Group, the parent of Hainan Airlines.

US support critical

GE's leasing arms GECAS, owner of one of the world's biggest airliner fleets, agreed to buy an unspecified number of aircraft, as did the financing arm of China Development Bank.

Experts said the involvement of GECAS signalled China's determination to win acceptance abroad - but efforts to woo international support suffered a glitch when foreign journalists were banned from attending the signing ceremony.

"GE will want to back their engine and their commitment may also help persuade the (US) Federal Aviation Administration to support certification of the aircraft," said Bradley Perrett, Asia-Pacific bureau chief of specialist magazine Aviation Week.

"The FAA's support will be critical for selling the aircraft to airlines in developed economies."

Boeing forecasts China will triple its airplane fleet over the next 20 years, making the country the largest aircraft market after the United States.

Goldman Sachs said this week that Chinese air passenger traffic could reach 1 billion people per year by 2022.

Comac said it expects China to take delivery of almost 4 400 aircraft worth about $500bn over the next 20 years as global passenger demand rises by an average of 5.2% and passenger traffic grows by 7.7%.

Read more on:    airbus  |  boeing  |  china  |  air travel
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1671.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.