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CCC-2009-09 C919 NEWS
CCC-2009-11 CHINA RUSSIAN JET APL-A
CCC-2009-11 CHINA RUSSIAN JET APL-B
CCC-2009-11 RUSSIAN JET APLS
CCC-2011-10 - LEAP ENGINE
CCC-2013-10 - WIDE BODY DEVELOPMENT
CCC-2014-09 - UPDATE
CCC-2014-12 - AVIC CORPORATION
CCC-2015-04 - 5TH ARJ-700-A.jpg
CCC-2015-04 - 5TH ARJ-700-B.jpg
CCC-2015-04 - 5TH ARJ-700-C.jpg
CCC-2015-04 - 5TH ARJ-700-D.jpg
CCC-2015-04 - 5TH ARJ-700-E.jpg
CCC-2015-09 - Chinese President Boeing Visit.jpg
CCC-2015-11 - 1st ARJ21-700 Delivery.jpg
CCC-2015-11 - C919 Roll Out.jpg
CCC-2015-11 - C919 Rollout-A.jpg
CCC-2015-11 - C919 Rollout.jpg
CCC-2017-11 C919 3rd Test Flight.jpg
Formed and established in 2003. Chinese commercial airplane manufacturer.
China (People's Republic of China) was established in 1949, it covers an area of 9,560,980 sq km, its population is 1,265 million, its capital city is Beijing, and its official language is Chinese.
China is a country in East Asia, the world's 3rd largest country by area (after Russia and Canada) and the largest by population. It is bordered on the north by the Republic of Mongolia and Russia, on the NE by Russia and North Korea, on the east by the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, on the south by the South China Sea, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (formerly Burma), India, Bhutan, and Nepal, on the west by Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, and on the NW by Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. China includes >3,400 offshore islands. The total area of China is 9,571,300 sq km/3,695,500 sq mi, not including Hong Kong, Macau, and land under the control of the Republic of China on Taiwan. The capital of China is Beijing; the country's most populous urban center is Shanghai.
May 2008: China moved 1 step closer to achieving its "dream" of manufacturing "jumbo airplanes" by establishing the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) in Shanghai. The company is charged with building civil airplanes, with a particular focus on large commercial jets, likely in the 150-seat size category. Beijing has said it could compete with some Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) models by 2020.
Originally scheduled to launch in March, the new company has a registered capital of CNY19 billion/$2.72 billion, with the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission investing CNY6 billion to become the largest stakeholder. The Guo Sheng Group, representing the local Shanghai government, invested CNY5 billion. Other stakeholders include (AVIC) 1, (AVIC) 2, Baosteel Group, Aluminum Corporation of China, and Sinochem Corporation.
Chairman, Zhang Qingwei said the company will be responsible for "airplane research and development, key parts production and final assembly, marketing, customer service, airworthiness certification and financial leasing." General Manager, Jin Zhuanglong added that the short-term goals of the new venture are to accelerate training of civil aviation professionals and to conclude the ARJ21's 1st flight and airworthiness certification process. "As for our long-term goal, we only have one," he said. "That is to guarantee commercial success of our large commercial trunk airplanes." Jin told state news agency "Xinhua" that the company has adopted an "opening-up" policy with an eye toward purchasing avionics and engines for its large airplanes from international suppliers. "We welcome our foreign counterparts to participate in the manufacturing process of our large commercial trunk airplanes so as to create a win-win situation," he said. He conceded that it will be a "long-term process" to manufacture large commercial airplanes, adding that no timetable has been established for building the 1st model. He also downplayed the potential challenge the (CCC) will present to established manufacturers. "Even if we make it, our large commercial trunk airplanes won't pose any challenge to Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS), as we [will] only have 1 single type [initially], while they have multiple types of airplanes."
China's "jumbo airplane" final assembly line may be based at Shanghai Pudong, an industry insider who requested anonymity said. "But it has to go through the evaluation by the (CCC), which will make the final decision," the insider said. Launched officially in Shanghai 2 weeks ago, (CCC) mainly is responsible for manufacturing the large commercial airplane. (CCC) Vice General Manager Wu Guanghui noted that it will consider "producing single-aisle, 150-seat airplanes in the 1st place, which will be similar to the A320 or 737." The company's headquarters already are in Shanghai and it is discussing placing its Research & Development (R&D) center, Final Assembly Line (FAL), and spare parts production base there as well, although no final decision has been made.
As an important step in the reinforcement of China's "jumbo airplane" program, principal manufacturers AVIC I and AVIC II are accelerating preparations for their integration, which is expected to take place "very soon," according to AVIC II General Legal Counsel, Li Shentian.
"As far as I am concerned, we do have an initial plan for integration of AVIC I and AVIC II. But it's not the time to formally disclose the specific details now as it still needs to be approved by Beijing" Li said. It was reported that the integration plan will come out early next month, and will center on merging AVIC I and AVIC II into 1 company comprising different departments covering engine, airborne equipment, helicopter manufacturing, small airplane production and other activities. China Securities Company aviation analyst, Feng Fuzhang said the country's commitment to build a 150-seat commercial airplane "makes it even more imperative for the merger to happen. The current operating independence of AVIC I and AVIC II have made Chinese airplane manufacturing resources so scattered." The Aviation Industry Development Research Center of China, an AVIC I subsidiary, previously said that the merged company likely will be responsible for producing spare parts and conducting test flights for large commercial airplanes, while the recently established (CCC) will take charge of financial leasing, overall design, final assembly, marketing, and customer service.
September 2008: China's AVIC I said that the merged company it is forming with AVIC II will be called the "China Aviation Industry Corporation (CAIC) Group" and revealed details of the entity's structure. The merger, which aims to create a state-owned company to oversee airplane manufacturing in China, including development of a "jumbo airplane" by 2020 to compete with 737s and A320s, has been delayed several times this year. AVIC I said integration processes are underway but the official start of the (CAIC) Group will be delayed until October. It previously has cited start dates that did not come to pass. The (CAIC) Group will have 14 departments at its Beijing headquarters and own 10 subsidiaries. One of the units under its oversight will be the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC), the company established earlier this year that is jointly owned by AVIC I and AVIC 2 and is tasked with building the larger airplanes.
(CAC) Chairman, Zhang Qingwei said that the "jumbo airplane" program will follow a "main manufacturer-supplier" model and include several divisions, among them airplane research and development, final assembly and integration, marketing and sales, and customer service/airworthiness and certification.
AVIC I is ramping up efforts to manufacture large commercial trunk airplanes as some of its subsidiaries are beginning to make big investments in expanding production capabilities. As planned, the merged AVIC will be responsible for producing spare parts and conducting test flights for large commercial airplanes. AVIC I subsidiaries Xi'an Aircraft Industry Company, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation & Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Company, and AVIC II subsidiaries, Shaanxi Aircraft Industry Co and Harbin Aircraft Industry Group are expected to be the five domestic producers of large commercial airplanes. Chengdu Aircraft Industrial has reached an agreement with local authorities to establish an aviation industry park with an initial investment of CNY600 million/$87.8 million. It is expected to be operational in 2010. Chengdu Assistant Managing Director, Li Qing noted that the park will be a production center for airplane nose and fore body parts, mainly for large commercial airplanes, although the facility also will aim to be an international base for production of boarding gate, emergency exit and landing gear door parts for civil airplanes. Shenyang Aircraft Corporation plans to invest CNY3.6 billion in a civil airplane industrial park in Shenyang, while Xi'an Aircraft Industry announced earlier this year a five-year investment of CNY6 billion in a new industrial park in Xian's Yanliang district.
Despite these efforts, AVIC I VP, Hu Wenming pointed out that engine production remains the biggest challenge. "It's most likely that we will choose to use foreign engines for large commercial airplanes initially," he said.
October 2008: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CACC) (CCC) launched the Shanghai Aircraft Customer Service Company (SACS), which will be the first domestic enterprise of its kind for civil airplanes and marks an important part of China's large commercial airplane manufacturing strategy. Last month, (CCC) Chairman, Zhang Qingwei revealed that it plans to establish one headquarters and three centers: A research and development center based around the Shanghai Aircraft Design & Research Institute, a manufacturing center based around the Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory and the customer service center. (SACS) has registered capital of CNY100 million. (CCC) Managing Director, Jin Zhuanglong noted that the new entity will establish a global customer service network and provide whole-life service for both large commercial and regional airplanes [the ARJ21] covering flight controls, spare parts support, engineering and technology service, customer support and network data management, among other services.
November 2008: China received a boost to its airplane manufacturing ambitions as (GECAS) (GEF) announced an order for 5 firm and 20 options (ARJ21-700)s. The airplanes will be powered by (GE)'s (CF34-10A) and are scheduled to begin delivering to the lessor (GEF) in 2013. (GECAS) (GEF) is the 1st Western customer to order the 90-seater, which now has sold 206 units. Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CACC) (CCC) Chairman Zhang Qingwei said the commitment also marks the largest so far. It is worth up to approximately $800 million if all options are filled.
The 1st ARJ21-700 which rolled out 11 months ago, made its inaugural flight this month - - SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "CCC-ARJ21-700-2008-11." The regional jet reached an altitude of 9,000 feet during the 1 hour flight. Engineering flight tests will continue through 2009. 3 additional airplanes will be added to the flight test program next year to support certification and service entry in 2010.
According to (GECAS) (GEF), (CACC) sees a potential market for 850 ARJ21s over the next 20 years, which (GE) said would be worth >$4 billion in engine revenue.
Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Minister Industry & Information Miao Wei confirmed that the country's large commercial airplane, designed to compete with the A320 and 737, is expected to enter the market between 2016 and 2020.
He said the (CACC) (CCC), a joint venture between AVIC I and AVIC II, will conclude preparation work by the end of next year, start production between 2010 and 2015, and enter the market sometime over the ensuing 4 years. The evaluation of potential sizes, market outlook, customer support, certification and other parameters is "going very well," he said.
(CACC) (CCC) Managing Director Jin Zhuanglong noted that the company is in close contact with foreign suppliers regarding engine selection, equipment and production materials. Jin also revealed that Beijing has opened discussions with Russia regarding cooperation on a large commercial airplane program.
China Aviation Industry Corporation (CAIC) Group VP Tan Ruisong told reporters that the result of the merger of AVIC I and AVIC II, was launched with registered capital of CNY64 billion/$9.36 billion.
President & (CEO) Lin Zuoming said (CAIC), which will be responsible for the production of China's large commercial airplane, has established departments covering defense, transport airplanes, airborne equipment, engines, helicopter manufacturing, utility airplanes, aviation research, flight testing, trade and logistics and capital management. The separation of civil from military aviation removes barriers that would prevent the company's future acquisition by overseas interests.
(CAIC) signed an agreement with Shanghai's municipal government to establish a commercial aero engine company with registered capital of CNY6 billion. (CAIC) is the controlling stakeholder of the new venture, which is expected to launch in six months. Tan said the engine company will include privately run companies as shareholders, and foreign engine firms may be involved, if Beijing gives the "green light." He added, "It may take 15 years to develop and produce" a commercial airplane engine.
(CAIC) employs about 400,000 at some 200 subsidiaries. Lin is targeting +20% annual revenue increases and wants to reach CNY1 trillion in turnover by 2017. The company currently brings in CNY300 billion.
February 2009: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CACC) (CCC) announced completion of the preliminary overall technological program for China's large commercial airplane and said it plans to conclude a feasibility study this year. Meantime, the ARJ21-700 has entered mass production. 1st flight was in late November and 3 additional airplanes will be added to the flight test program this year to support certification and service entry in 2010.
March 2009: Shenzhen Airlines (SHZ)'s subsidiary, Kunpeng Airlines is expected to replace Shandong Airlines (SHG) as the operator of the 1st ARJ21-700, which is scheduled to obtain its domestic airworthiness certificate next year. A (SHZ) spokesperson said that the 1st ARJ21-700 will be delivered to Kunpeng in the second half of 2010. (SHZ) ordered 100 ARJ21s at the end of 2007. In an effort to boost ARJ21 sales, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CACC) (CCC) Vice Managing Director and the Chief Designer of China's large commercial airplane, Wu Guanghui called on Beijing to subsidize domestic carriers purchasing the ARJ21. The airplane has received 208 orders, 181 of which have come from China.
The country's ambition to manufacture a 150-seat "trunk liner" also is making progress, Wu said, claiming that ARJ21 production is helping lay a foundation for "new technological breakthroughs" that will be applied to the larger jet. He said the trunk liner will be flying in eight years, that a feasibility study has been completed and that (CACC) "is working on some key technological problems." He told the state "Xinhua" news agency that the airplane will be named the "Comac C-919. The (CCC) hopes that global Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)s will join with Chinese firms in bidding to supply the trunk liner's engines, avionics and production materials in order to improve the level of Chinese airplane manufacturing. "Initially we will choose some foreign products, such as airplane engines, but we will also try to produce them by ourselves gradually," Wu said. AVIC recently launched a commercial engine company in Shanghai that is expected to be responsible for producing the Comac C-919's engines down the line.
SEE ATTACHED - - "CCC-NEWS-2009-03" which describes how (CCC) has taken a major step forward in the development of the Comac 919 by aiming to have the first C-919 ready for roll-out and first flight in 2014, with entry-into-service (EIS) following in 2016 (four years earlier than originally planned.
June 2009: Joy Air, the joint venture launched by AVIC and China Eastern Airlines (CEA) in the spring of 2008, will begin operations next month following the arrival of two MA60s. The Xi'an-based carrier signed a contract for 13 MA60s at last November's Zhuhai Air Show and plans to acquire 50 of the type, plus 50 ARJ21s, within the next eight years.
July 2009: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) began construction on its new research and development center near Shanghai Pudong that is scheduled to open in 2012. The facility will be responsible primarily for production of China's 150-seat "trunk liner" narrow body and regional airplanes such as the ARJ21. It is one of three centers planned for the trunk liner program, including a customer service center launched last year and a final assembly base to be located at Pudong and Dachang in Shanghai. The (CCC) has completed the trunk liner's preliminary overall technological scheme and signed Memo of Understanding (MOU)s with nine domestic suppliers for production of the landing gear, cabin doors and airfoils. It is expected to finish its feasibility study on the airplane this year.
Separately, the ARJ21-700 has started batch production. The first airplane made its inaugural flight in November and the second this month. The third and fourth are scheduled to fly this year while the next three are on the final assembly line.
August 2009: Goodrich (BFG) and Xi'an Aircraft International Corporation (XAIC) signed agreements to form two 50/50 joint venture (JV) companies that will manufacture landing gear and engine nacelle components "focused on the fast-growing Chinese aerospace market," including competing to be selected on Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC)'s C919 single-aisle transport currently under development. The two (JV)s will be between (XAIC) on the one hand and Goodrich (BFG) Landing Gear and Goodrich (BFG) Aerostructures on the other.
SEE ATTACHED "FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL" ARTICLE ON MANAGEMENT HIRING - - "CCC-AVIC VP-AUG09."
September 2009: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) unveiled the first mock-up of its C919, the narrow body airplane the country is building as a follow-up to the regional ARJ21. Guo Bozhi, president of (CCC) affiliate, Shanghai Aircraft Design & Research Institute, said in Hong Kong that the model is the "most precise" rendering to date of the airplane, slated to seat 156 to 168 passengers. It reportedly is 10% of the C919's anticipated size.
According to state news agency "Xinhua," (CCC) is targeting first flight in late 2014 with first delivery in 2016. It has issued Request for Proposal (RFP)s to more than >100 potential suppliers, including international companies, and has signed Memos of Understanding (MOU)s with nine Chinese suppliers. Guo claimed it has been "in touch" with GE Aviation (GEC), Rolls Royce (RRC), and Pratt & Whitney (PWC) regarding engines. He said that "if successful," (CCC) plans to produce 50 C919s annually "at the early stage and annual production could reach 100 or even more at a later stage, depending on how it is received by the market." The C919 would have a 4,075-5,555-km range.
(AVIC) subsidiary, Commercial Engine Company (CEC) plans to obtain secure airworthiness certification for a domestically produced engine in 2016 so it is ready to power the large commercial jet planned to enter the market by 2020. (CEC) General Manager, Zhang Jian said the company, along with (CFM) and Pratt & Whitney (P&W), is a candidate to furnish a powerplant for the trunk liner. "As far as I know, we will become one of the providers but won't be the only one," he said.
(CEC) was launched in Shanghai in January with registered capital of CNY6 billion. (AVIC) holds 40% while Shanghai Electric Group and Shanghai Guosheng Group each hold 15%. The remaining 30% has been put up for bid. "There are many companies home and abroad making a bid, including Chinese privately run companies, domestic investment banks and even Western engine companies. But we haven't chosen the strategic investor yet," Zhang said.
(AVIC) strengthened its international Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) relationships with the announcement of a significant agreement with Safran covering the design, production and support of landing gear systems and engine nacelles that also will pave the way for extensive Franco-Chinese cooperation on China's C919 150-seat commercial transport. The "framework agreement" signed at the Aviation Expo/China event in Beijing brings together (AVIC) Aircraft Corporation and Safran, as well as Safran nacelle subsidiary, Aircelle and its Nexcelle nacelle joint venture with GE Aviation (GEC)'s Middle River Aircraft Systems.
(AVIC) and Safran will "collaborate on all aspects" of the landing gear system and engine nacelle product lines, including design, production and support, and the companies said that "new facilities in China" will be established based on "existing assets."
Under the framework agreement, (AVIC) Aircraft subsidiaries Landing Gear Advanced Manufacturing Corporation, Xi'an Aviation Brake Technology Company and The First Aircraft Institute agreed with Safran subsidiaries Messier-Dowty and Messier-Bugatti "to submit a joint proposal to Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) for landing and braking systems on the C919." Additionally, Nexcelle and (AVIC) Aircraft signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) to create an engine nacelle joint venture to design and manufacture nacelle components for a full range of airplanes.
(COMAC) Deputy General Manager and C919 Chief Engineer, Wu Guanghui noted at the signing ceremony that (AVIC) will be responsible for most airborne systems production on the C919. "(AVIC) has maintained a long-term cooperative relationship with Safran and (GEC). We can realize resource sharing and mutual benefits through cooperation with them, so as to enhance our airplane manufacturing level and marketing capabilities," (AVIC) General Manager, Lin Zuoming said.
(AVIC) released its 20-year market forecast at the Expo. It predicted that China will need 3,796 commercial airplanes over the next 20 years, comprising 2,922 large and 874 regional airplanes. Chinese carriers are expected to operate 4,233 passenger airplanes and 583 freighters in 2028.
China expects to secure the launch customer(s) for the new C919 large commercial airplane sometime in the first half of 2010, (CCC) Marketing Director, Chen Jin told reporters at the Aviation Expo/China event in Beijing. "A lot of airlines and airplane leasing companies have applied to be the launch customer for the C919, but since launch customers can get a favorable price, the number of launch customers is limited," Chen said. He said the initial order could number as many as 90 airplanes. The C919 is targeted mainly at filling domestic needs, although (CCC) also hopes to explore the overseas market. Its inaugural flight is expected in 2014, with entry into service scheduled for 2016.
SEE - - "CCC-C919 NEWS-2009-09."
October 2009: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) agreed to purchase a 48% stake in Sichuan Airlines (SIC) subsidiary United Eagle Airlines (UEG) in order to facilitate the sale of its ARJ21 and C919 airplanes. The (CCC) will invest CNY1 billion/$146.3 million in Chengdu-based, United Eagle (UEG), which under terms of the agreement will order 30 ARJ21s after the stake sale is concluded.
(SIC) acquired 76.2% of (UEG) for CNY200 million six months ago as (UEG) was on the verge of bankruptcy. Owing to (CCC)'s investment, Sichuan (SIC)'s stake will be reduced to 40.97%. Sichuan Communication Investment Group will hold the remaining 11.03%.
(UEG) is expected to take delivery of its first ARJ21 at the end of 2010. It currently operates seven A320 family airplanes on 35 domestic routes and is expected to add an eighth airplane at year end.
(UEG) plans to rely on the A320 and ARJ21 in the short term, "but we will phase out the A320s gradually and replace them with C919s for the long term," a Sichuan spokesperson said. (UEG) noted it will continue to help (UEG) with capacity control, operational management, Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and human resources.
(SIC) was the first carrier to introduce the A320 into the Chinese market in the 1990s. It also took delivery of the first A320 assembled at Airbus (EDS)'s Tianjin final assembly line in June.
Similarly, (AVIC) launched Joy Air (JOY) with three MA60s in August. (JOY) is expected to introduce three more MA60s by year end and plans to acquire 50 of the type, plus 50 ARJ21s, over the next eight years.
SEE ATTACHED "FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL" ARTICLE ON UNITED EAGLE ACQUISITION - - "CCC-UEG-COMAC-2009-11." ALSO SEE "CCC-2009-11 CHINA RUSSIAN JET APL-A/B."
November 2009: (AVIC) and (GE) signed a framework agreement to launch an avionics joint venture (JV) targeted at the fast-growing Chinese aviation market. Lorraine Bolsinger, President & CEO of (GE)'s Aviation (GEC) Systems business, told reporters that (GE) and (AVIC) each will hold 50% of the (JV) but she declined to reveal the size of (GE)'s investment. (AVIC) VP ,Zhang Xinguo said his company has not yet decided how much to invest and when the (JV) will be established formally. "Our first priority is to make a bid for the C919 for the short term," Bolsinger noted. The C919, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC)'s large commercial airplane is scheduled to enter service in 2016. (COMAC) plans to produce 2,355 C919s over the next 20 years and has started inviting bids for the airplane's engines and airborne systems. It has said it prefers to do business with companies that establish cooperative relationships with Chinese airplane manufacturing enterprises.
Both (AVIC) and (GE) said their (JV) is meant for more than the C919. "(AVIC) will join hands with (GE) to create an advanced avionics platform to serve the global market and provide competitive solutions for our clients," (AVIC) President, Lin Zuomin said. Bolsinger added that the (JV) will aim to serve other next-generation narrow bodies and business jets. "I would say the market demand for the new generation of narrow body airplanes is about 20,000," she said.
December 2009: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) chose (CFM) International's (LEAP-X1C) to power the 150-seat C919, the country's large commercial airplane scheduled to enter service in 2016. This fall, the (GE)/Snecma joint venture said a baseline (LEAP-X) could be ready for certification in 2016, with a possible service entry in 2018. COMAC (CCC)'s deal with (CFM) is not exclusive and it eventually intends to add a domestically produced powerplant. It signed the agreement with (CFM) Monday during French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon's visit to Beijing.
(CCC) Chairman, Zhang Qingwei said during the signing ceremony that the (LEAP-X1C) will "be more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly. That's why we decided to select it to power the C919, since higher fuel prices would increase carriers' operating costs and a reduction in carbon emissions will help airlines to better accommodate environmental requirements imposed by different parties, such as Europe's (ETS)." The (LEAP-X1C) will improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by -16% compared to the (CFM56).
Meanwhile, Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC)'s Commercial Aircraft Engine Company has accelerated its research and development process and has finished a development plan for its commercial engine, which now is awaiting approval from Beijing. It signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with (CFM) to establish a ground test platform and final assembly line for the (LEAP-X1C) in China.
January 2010: (AVIC)'s Commercial Aircraft Engine Company (ACAC) and (MTU) Aero Engines signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) covering production of a powerplant for the 150-seat C919. (ACAC) General Manager, Zhang Jian said the partnership with (MTU) "is based on independent innovation" and that (ACAC) will safeguard its own intellectual property. Last month, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) chose (CFM) International's (LEAP-X1C) to power the C919, which is scheduled to enter service in 2016, and signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with (CFM) to establish a ground test platform and final assembly line for the LEAP-X1C in China. (COMAC) intends to power the C919 with foreign-built engines initially, while domestically produced engines are under development.
Sukhoi Superjet SSJ 100's first delivery now is expected in mid-2010, confirming reports that the setback from the year-end 2009 timetable resulted from problems related to the (SaM146) engines developed and produced by Powerjet, a joint venture between Snecma and (NPO) Saturn. The source cited the "likely, but badly communicated, delays that traditionally accompany a new airplane type (look at the 787). The (SSJ) involves a new mainframe, a new engine and new [international] partnerships" that create additional complications.
United Aviation Corporation (UAC) Director General, Alexei Fyodorov told reporters in Russia that "Sukhoi is in talks with the buyers about new time frames for delivery of these planes. The engine-makers have shifted the timetable of certification. Well, it turned out they were not ready," "Reuters" reported. He added: "I think the problems were indeed technical. A new engine is being developed." (UAC) holds a 75%-minus-one-share stake in Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. The remainder is held by Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica. A Snecma spokesperson refused to comment on the reasons for the delay or whether technical issues or a longer-than-expected certification process for the (SaM146) is the cause. The firm order portfolio for the SSJ stands at 122. Aeroflot (ARO) was scheduled to take the first airplane.
(AVIC)'s Commercial Aircraft Engine Company (ACAC) began construction of its CNY3.23 billion/$472.5 million Shanghai research and development facility, which is scheduled to be completed in 2013 and will include a Research & Development (R&D) center and an airworthiness testing center, as well as Engineering, Liaison and Customer Service facilities.
(ACAC) General Manager, Zhang Jian said "In the future, we would even consider producing powerplants for 250-seat wide bodies, regional airplanes and business jets." (ACAC) plans to recruit foreign talent to help with those initiatives.
Meanwhile, it still is seeking a strategic investor for a 30% stake. The company was launched in January 2009. (AVIC) holds 40% and Shanghai Electric Group and Shanghai Guosheng Group each hold 15%. Zhang said (ACAC) has received interest from state-owned and private companies in China as well as Western investors.
The recently launched 156-seat C919 won't be a direct threat to Boeing (TBC) or Airbus (EDS) outside China until at least 2021. The assessment was made after discussions with Chinese airlines, suppliers, (TBC) and (EDS). The airplane built by COMAC (CCC) will be a three-model program with the larger C929 and C939 to follow. (CCC), which is expected to have a significant presence at this week's show, claims the C919 will have a -3% lower weight, -12% to -15% lower fuel burn and +5% better lift-to-drag ratio than the A320. The first flight is slated for September 2014 with first delivery expected in June 2016. Initial production rates are expected to be 5 to 10 annually.
United Eagle Airlines (UEG) will re-launch as a state-owned carrier and will be renamed "Chengdu Air." In October, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC), manufacturer of the ARJ21 and C919, purchased a 48% stake in loss-making (UEG) from Sichuan Airlines (SIC) for CNY1 billion/$146.3 million. (SIC)'s stake was reduced to 41% and Sichuan Communication Investment Group holds the remaining 11%. (SIC) is controlled by the provincial government and China Southern Airlines (GUN). (UEG) currently operates six A319s and one A320 on 35 domestic routes. The new airline, which has placed an order for 30 ARJ21s, will focus on regional operations. It will take delivery of its first ARJ21-700 at the end of 2010.
Lao Airlines (LAO) signed an agreement with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) to buy two ARJ21-700s, being the first export customer for the narrow body jet.
February 2010: The Jiangxi provincial government plans to build a CNY40 billion/$5.85 billion aviation industrial complex in the capital of Nanchang centering on production of 25% of the fuselage for the country's C919 large commercial transport. Nanchang is about 400 miles southwest of Shanghai. The local government signed a joint venture agreement with (AVIC) in December to cooperate on aviation technology and launch the Nanchang General Aircraft Company, which will support (AVIC) subsidiary, Hongdu Commercial Aircraft Company and produce components for both domestically produced commercial airplanes and business jets. Hongdu signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) last spring to produce a quarter of the fuselage for the C919 and also reached a subcontractor agreement with Vought Aircraft Industries in December to produce spares for the 747-8. Since China's trunk liner project was announced in 2007, aviation industrial parks also have been planned in Shenyang, Tianjin, Beijing, and Shanghai, which some local aviation analysts have criticized as "a waste of resources and money."
April 2010: COMAC (CCC) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Moog to co-develop the high-lift system including flap/slat actuation, pilot interfaces, electronic controls, power drive units, wingtip brakes, gearboxes and miscellaneous components for the C919. It also selected Parker Aerospace, in a joint venture with AVIC Systems, to supply the fuel, inerting and hydraulic systems. Honeywell (SGC) was selected to supply 131-9(C9C) Auxiliary Power Units (APU)s and associated equipment.
(CFM) International said development on its next-generation LEAP-X1C engine, selected late last year to power Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC)'s 150-seat C919 slated to enter service in 2016, is progressing well with second-phase core testing underway and scheduled to conclude by mid-May. Executives from the GE Aviation (GEC)/Snecma joint venture, briefing a small group of reporters at GE Aviation (GEC)'s Cincinnati headquarters, expressed confidence that the Chinese airplane ultimately will appeal to airlines around the world and reiterated their strong interest in participating in potential narrow body re-engining programs that both Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) are considering launching this year.
Executive VP, Chaker Chahrour said a variation of the LEAP-X is the "lowest risk option" for a 737/A320 re-engining. He said (CFM) has been presenting options to both (TBC) and ( EDS). The manufacturers are "obviously pursuing a re-engine product very heavily," he said, though he cautioned that neither has "made up their mind that they're going to re-engine."
He asserted that the LEAP-X is a better option than rival Pratt & Whitney (P&W)'s (PW1000G) geared turbofan owing to an advanced-technology core. "We pride ourselves on cores," he explained, adding that the LEAP-X core is based on "ninth-generation" technology and lessons learned on previous (GE) and (CFM ) engine programs. "My competition doesn't have a [new] core, at least not for a re-engined product for the A320 or 737," he said. "The technology they're using for the [PW1000G] core is existing technology."
Even if the manufacturers decide against re-engining, (CFM) believes the C919 will give it the opportunity to prove that the LEAP-X can provide a -14% to -16% fuel burn reduction compared to today's narrow body powerplants.
Chahrour said (COMAC) (CCC) is putting significant "resources" and "energy" behind the airplane and shouldn't be underestimated despite skepticism that it will sell outside China. "We're very concerned about making it a commercial success," he commented. "The numbers in [the domestic Chinese airline market], as good as they are, don't really support a sustainable business case [for an airplane or an engine program]. We do think they will make it a global airplane. From the perspective of our business plan, we'd be very happy if that materializes in the early 2020s. We're very realistic and we know it could take awhile."
President & CEO, Eric Bachelet said the company has the resources to produce both the LEAP-X1C for the C919 and a variant for a 737/A320 re-engining. "We have studied scenarios of how to stagger [development and testing] to do both," he explained. "We have closely studied this and [doing both] is feasible."
July 2010: COMAC (CCC) announced that many of the C919's most critical systems will be developed and produced via joint ventures (JV)s between Western and Chinese companies, including a GE Aviation Systems (GEC)/(AVIC) (JV) that will be responsible for the airplane's avionics core processing system, display system and on board maintenance system.
In addition, Rockwell Collins and China Electronics Technology Avionics jointly will provide communication and navigation solutions for the airplane, and Eaton Corporation and Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Company jointly will develop and produce its fuel and hydraulic conveyance systems. The C919 is scheduled to enter service in 2016.
All of the proposed (JV)s still must be finalized and gain required regulatory approvals. The C919 modular avionics system provided by the planned (GEC)/(AVIC) joint venture "will be the central information system and backbone of the airplane's networks and electronics and will host the airplane's avionics, maintenance and utility functions," (GEC) said. "The system replaces dozens of traditional, standalone computers fitted to airplanes flying today, benefiting in weight savings, improved reliability and reduced operating cost."
Regarding the communication and navigation systems, (CETA) President, Jim Zhuanglong said, "Rockwell Collins is the industry leader in development of civil communication and aviation electronic solutions, while (CETA) is a domestic supplier specializing in civil avionics solutions. I believe, by working together, Rockwell Collins and (CETA) will successfully fulfill the mission" of equipping the C919 with top-flight systems.
The planned Eaton/(SAMC) (JV) will be based in Shanghai. Eaton estimated total program value for C919 conveyance systems, including aftermarket opportunities, at $1.8 billion.
Eaton Corporation signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with COMAC (CCC) to supply the cockpit panel assemblies and dimming control system for the C919. The program is valued at more than >$425 million based on 2,500 airplanes.
Selection of the LEAP-X by COMAC (CCC) to power the C919 puts (CFM) International on an aggressive path to certify the engine in 2014, or about two years earlier than planned when it was launched at the 2008 Farnborough Airshow. "Initially, we launched it as an engine that would be certified in 2016," Executive VP, Chaker Chahrour said at a briefing in London, stating that the program is going "full speed ahead and nothing is holding us back right now." To insure that it achieves the earlier certification date, which is necessary to meet the C919's planned service entry in 2016, (CFM) has decided to limit the introduction of ceramic matrix composites. "We will have some in the shrouds; we decided not to put it in the nozzles," said Executive VP, Olivier Savin.
"(CCC) is not ready for prime time," Chahrour said. As a result of this and other decisions driven by the development schedule, the new engine will enter service with a +15% improvement in specific fuel consumption rather than the 16% that would have been available in the later time frame, he said. Bypass ratio will be 10:1.
The company has run its LEAP-X e-Core Demonstrator for 150 total hours and is "thrilled with the results," Chahrour said. It also has tested the fan blade system, which has accumulated some 165 hours on the MASCOT engine demonstrator with another 400 hours or so planned.
The LEAP-X features composite fan blades using 3D woven resin transfer molding technology and a composite fan case. It will have -50% fewer blades than current (CFM) engines. The weight saving from the blades and fan case is 1,000 lbs per airplane, Savin said. The blades already have passed 4-lbs and 6-lbs bird ingestion tests as well as a blade-out test, he added. The high pressure compressor will have a 22:1 compression ratio, the same as the (GE90) and (GEnx), compared to 11:1 to 14:1 for today's narrow body engines.
Despite the accelerated development schedule, the company is confident it will deliver its engine on time. "(CFM) has never missed a certification date," Chahrour said.
China’s (COMAC) (CCC) C919 airliner will be the first in the world with a truly integrated propulsion system (IPS), which effectively replaces the traditional nacelle, combining new and pioneering technologies in a single package to reduce fuel burn by as much as 1 to 1.5%. That savings comes in addition to the (CFM) International Leap X1C engine, which is expected to bring -15% in fuel savings, compared with the best engines in service today. “Comac could have chosen a traditional nacelle for the Leap-X engine,” said Steve Walters, President of the Nexcelle joint venture between Safran’s Aircelle and (GEC)’s Middle River Aircraft Systems nacelle companies. “You have to take your hats off to the Chinese for their vision.”
Even though a re-engined A320 or 737 would use a similar Leap-X engine, neither could reap the full benefits of an (IPS) because of the difficulty in optimizing it for an old airframe. The integrated propulsion system (IPS) has been made possible largely by the industrial integration that has brought different nacelle systems and component suppliers together in partnerships and joint ventures (Safran’s Snecma and (GEC) also jointly own engine maker (CFM) International). This has made it possible for designers and engineers to work together as never before to ensure not only that parts fit—designing to requirements passed down the chain—but also that they are optimized to work together. “We’ve reduced weight and increased aerodynamic performance,” said Walters, while bringing the Chinese an integrated power system (IPS) that the West likely can’t match on similar-sized airplane for at least the next 15 years.
September 2010: SEE ATTACHED - - "CCC-2010-09-INTERIORS SELECTION."
November 2010: (COMAC) (CCC) announced at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai that four Chinese airlines and two leasing companies have placed orders and commitments for up to 100 C919s. The airlines comprise Air China (BEJ), China Southern Airlines (GUN), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Hainan Airlines (HNA); the lessors are (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEF) and China Development Bank Leasing Company.
The orders, the first for the 150 to 170 seat transport, also mark the formal launch of (CFM) International's (LEAP-X1C), which was selected as the exclusive western powerplant for the airplane last year.
(COMAC) (CCC) Chairman, Zhang Qingwei noted “the big order['s] would lay a solid marketing base for the smooth development of C919 production,” which is scheduled to make its first flight in 2014 and enter service in 2016. "We are obviously honored by the strong show of support from China's major airlines evidenced by these launch orders," said (CFMI) President & CEO, Eric Bachelet. (CFM) said it is on schedule to freeze the (LEAP-X) design by the end of 2011 with the first full (LEAP-X) engine going to test in early 2013.
(CEA) Chairman, Liu Shaoyong said (CEA) would take 20 C919s. It is reported that each of the other three airlines are taking a similar number, while CDB Leasing Company has reportedly ordered 10.
Separately, (GECAS) (GEF) said it signed a letter of intent covering five firm C919s and five options.
Commenting on the order and rising competition from COMAC (CCC), Airbus (EDS) China President, Laurence Barron told reporters at the show that, “The Chinese market is quite big and has enough room for different types of airplanes. Even if the competition hadn’t taken place in China, it would take place in Japan, Russia, and Canada, especially in the 100- to 200-seat airplane market. So when we face this competition, we deal with it.” He also said, “It is not enough just to have government support. Customers care about safety, reliability and financial performance. So if the airplane is a good one, it will sell.”
Boeing (TBC) continues to evaluate the possible time line for launching a successor to the 737, VP & General Manager 737 Program, Beverly Wyse said at the Zhuhai Air Show November 17. “We haven’t made a firm decision yet but we are considering it,” said Wyse. “Right now, we are in the phase of communicating with our customers and gathering information from them on this issue.” (TBC) is seeking a +25% improvement in fuel efficiency over existing types a new airplane would replace in the 100 to 200 seat size range.
(TBC) forecast earlier this month that China will need 3,090 new single-aisle airplanes in the next 20 years, which will account for 71% of total deliveries.
Confronted with the emergence of (COMAC) (CCC)'s C919, which just received 100 C919 orders at Zhuhai, Wyse said she is confident about Boeing (TBC)’s prospect in the Chinese market. “We fully respect China’s intention to enter the single-aisle airplane market and welcome this competition…[which has been] really powerful for our industry as it continues to cause people to invest in their products and make the products more efficient,” she noted.
(GE) Aviation (GEC) and China's (HNA) Group, parent of Hainan Airlines (HNA), signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) at the Zhuhai Air Show to form a Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) joint venture (JV) for (GE)'s (CF34-10A) and (CF-34-10E) engines for the ARJ-21 and Embraer EMB-190/195 regional jets, respectively. The facility will be located in Tianjin province and operated by the (HNA) Group "with technical support and materials from (GE)," (GEC) said.
A Shanghai-based joint-venture (JV) company will gradually take over the civil avionics businesses of General Electric (GE) and (AVIC).
Establishment of the joint company can now go ahead, following the signing of an agreement of the Shanghai municipal and Shandong provincial governments to invest in the Chinese side. “This will be the main commercial avionics business of Avic and General Electric (GE),” (AVIC) VP, Zhang Xinguo said after the signing ceremony at Airshow China in Zhuhai, Guangdong.
Roger Seager, General Manager of Commercial Aircraft Programs at (GE) says, “This will be (GE)’s store front. Our commercial avionics will be headquartered here in China, at the joint venture (JV).” Since the Chinese side will collectively own half of the joint company, (AVIC)’s effective interest will be less than 50%. The government investors, knowing little about avionics, can be expected to let Avic and (GE) run it, however. The first task for the joint company will be to develop avionics for the (Comac) (CCC) C919 airliner — - the catalyst for its creation.
(GE) has already begun work on a suite of advanced modular avionics that will form the basis of the C919 system. The second task of the joint company will be to take those modules and develop avionic systems for other airplanes. Both sides will separately continue to build their existing products — which, in (AVIC)’s case, do not enjoy large sales volumes — while the new business gradually expands to take over their whole avionics activities. The partners will continue to make components separately. Within the reorganized Avic, the joint company falls under Avic Avionics, part of what was previously called Avic Systems. The rest of the former Avic Systems will specialized in electrical and mechanical systems under a different name.
Western suppliers to the C919 program have been required to work with
Chinese partners. Several, including (GE), have chosen to set up joint businesses that will address the wider market beyond the C919.
Aircelle and Xi'an Aircraft International Corporation (XAIC) formally signed a contract to produce and assemble nacelle components in Xi'an for the C919 and potentially other airplanes. (XAIC) is a subsidiary of (AVIC). The nacelle for the C919 is being developed by Nexcelle, which is jointly owned by Aircelle, a Safran Company and GE Aviation (GEC)'s Middle River Aircraft Systems. Signing the contract at Zhuhai were Aircelle Chairman & CEO, Vincent Mascre, and (XAIC) Chairman of the Board, Wang Xiangyang.
SEE ATTACHED "FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL" C919 UPDATE - - "CCC-2010-11-C919 UPDATE-A/B/C/D."
(AVIC) International has signed an agreement with (COMAC) (CCC) to purchase 100 ARJ21s at the Zhuhai Air Show. Both companies said they will work together to market to international customers. So far, there have been 340 ARJ21 orders, mainly from domestic carriers, but Lao Airlines, which ordered two aircraft in January 2010, will likely be the ARJ21’s first foreign operator. (COMAC) (CCC) ARJ21 Chief Designer, Chen Yong noted that the regional jet is in the phase of making test flights and gaining certification from the (CAAC) (CAC). It is working toward gaining certification from the (FAA) to pave the way for its international marketing plan. The regional airplane is scheduled to enter the market in 2011.
SEE ATTACHED "FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL" ARTICLE - - "CCC-2010-11-ARJ21-UPDATE."
December 2010: China's Ministry of Commerce gave the green light for the air cargo joint venture (JV) between Air China (BEJ) and Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), which is expected to launch by year end or early next year, according to (BEJ) Board Secretary, Huang Bin.
The (JV), which was agreed to in February, will create "Air China Cargo (CAO)." (BEJ) will hold a 51% stake in the new carrier while Cathay (CAT) will acquire a 25% stake and fund an offshore trust, in the form of a loan, to hold an additional 24%. (CAT)'s total investment in the new venture will be CNY1.67 billion/$25 million.
Air China Cargo (CAO) will operate seven 747F freighters. (CAT) will sell four 747-400Fs and two spare engines to the new airline. (CAO) also plans to transfer its main operating base to Shanghai Pudong. An insider at (BEJ) noted both carriers agreed that (CAT) will withdraw all its cargo business from China’s mainland market in three years so that the new (JV) can be better positioned in the mainland market. Air China (BEJ) is expected to buy out (CAT)’s belly freight service on all its flights to China’s mainland cities.
The new (JV) is expected to face competition as China Eastern Airlines (CEA) announced in October its new subsidiary cargo carrier— comprised of the assets of China Cargo Airlines (CKK), Great Wall Airlines (GWZ) and Shanghai Airlines Cargo (SHA) — will commence operations January 1 from its base in Shanghai.
December 2010: Airbus (EDS) has ended almost 12 months of speculation and applied the blowtorch to Boeing (TBC) by launching as an option the re-engine of the A320 family (but not the A318) with either the (CFM) International (LEAP-X) or Pratt & Whitney (P&W)'s PurePower (PW1100G) geared turbofan.
To be known as the "A320neo," the airplane will also come equipped with "sharklet" winglets currently offered as an option on new build A320 family airplanes. Airbus (EDS) said the A320neo will offer up to a -15% fuel saving and will be available for delivery from spring 2016. The airplane will have over 95% airframe commonality with the standard A320 family, with the new engines requiring "limited modifications, primarily to the wing and pylon areas." (EDS) put the market potential at 4,000 A320neo family airplanes over the next 15 years.
In a statement, (CFM) International President & CEO, Eric Bachelet said, "We are obviously honored to be part of this exciting program. This is a natural extension of the long and very successful relationship we have enjoyed with Airbus (EDS) since the inception of the A320 family program in the early 1980s." The (LEAP-X) is also being developed for the COMAC (CCC) C919.
January 2011: General Electric (GE) is counting on a joint venture (JV) with the Aviation Industrial Corp of China (AVIC) to propel (GEC) into the front ranks of avionics suppliers, just as its 50-50 partnership with France’s Snecma turned (CFM) International into a powerhouse engine maker. With Chinese President, Hu Jintao and USA Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke looking on, GE Aviation (GEC) President & CEO, David Joyce and Avic Senior VP, Zhang Xinguo signed an agreement in Chicago to form a (JV) — (GE) - Avic Civil Avionics Systems Company Ltd — in Shanghai.
The partners say, “Market potential provides an estimated value” of $2 billion for the company, which was preliminarily agreed to in November 2009. The completion of that deal was timed as part of Hu’s state visit this month with President Obama.
Avic will nominate the Chairman and (GE) the General Manager of (GE) - Avic Avionics Systems. It will initially be located in the Zizhu Digital Hub Science Park in Shanghai until a permanent location is secured.
The (JV)’s first contract is to provide an integrated avionics suite
for the 160- to 190-seat Comac C919, China’s single-aisle transport that will challenge the A320 and 737 families. It is to enter service in 2016 and will be powered by (CFM)’s (Leap-X) engine. But the larger intent is for the partners to turn their as-yet unnamed (JV) into a major avionics supplier for airplanes in any market.
At this stage, timing is fluid. The company expects to develop a certified product on or before 2014 to support the C919’s flight test schedule. Rate production would begin in 2015 to support the airplane’s service entry of 2016. But if upgrade systems are sold for use by other airplanes, production schedules could move up, a (GE) official said.
GE Aviation (GEC) is best known for its gas turbine engines, but its purchase of Smiths Aviation in 2007 signaled an intent to be as strong in commercial avionics. Smiths plays a major role on the 787 as the builder of the common core computing system, but its reputation is as an avionics supplier, not a prime manufacturer. (GE)’s purchase of Smiths was to build it up to become a prime contractor; its partnership with Avic is the means to that end. For Avic, teaming with (GE) is a means to the end of establishing the Chinese company’s importance in avionics manufacture.
The emphasis on civil projects is intended to get past USA export control regulations. The partnership is modeled after the (GE)-Snecma agreement in which each company supports its own investment in (CFMI) and fulfills specific work assignments for engines best known for powering A320s and 737s. (GE) also has joint ventures (JV)s with Honda in (GE) Honda Aero Engines for a business jet engine and Pratt & Whitney (PWC) in The Engine Alliance that produces powerplants for the A380.
Meanwhile, avionics prime contractor Rockwell Collins has opened its
China System Support Center in Shanghai for fundamental and advanced
engineering, program management training, systems integration and avionics system consulting. Also a major C919 supplier, Rockwell Collins expects to expand its reach in China with the support center. The company is providing the 150-seat jet’s communication, navigation, surveillance, cabin management, in-flight entertainment
and simulator components.
SEE ATTACHED "AIRLINER WORLD" ARTICLE ON (CCC) NEWS - - "CCC-2011-01-ORDERS."
February 2011: GE Aviation (GEC) and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) formed a 50/50 joint venture (JV) company, (GE) - (AVIC) Civil Avionics Systems Company Ltd, to develop and market integrated avionic systems for new airplane platforms. The (JV) company will be headquartered in China and will be the single route-to-market for integrated avionics systems for both (GE) and (AVIC) for new commercial airplanes. Also, (GE) and (AVIC) will each provide avionics products to the (JV) company as a customer and distributor, the companies said. The initial focus for the (JV) is integrated avionics systems for the C919, manufactured by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC) (CCC). (CCC) anticipates delivering more than >2300 C919 airplanes over the 20-year life of the program. This market potential provides an estimated value for the (AVIC) (GE) avionics systems of about $2 billion, according to (GE).
"(GE) is extremely pleased and excited to be a part of this unique aviation business. The (JV) will build on the extensive avionics capabilities of both companies and create a technology center of excellence to serve the commercial aviation market," said David Joyce, CEO (GEC). "(GE)'s aviation business in China results in 1,800 high-technology jobs in the USA. The jobs are involved in producing and supporting jet engines for China, as well as developing the new engine and avionics system for the C919." "The (JV) will work to secure systems and other avionics products on future airplanes adding to the overall economic value and jobs created," said Lorraine Bolsinger, President & CEO of GE Aviation Systems. "The (JV) and C919 program will support and maintain at least 300 high-tech jobs locally in each of the USA and China. This (JV) will challenge our team to come up with break-through technology. (GE) and (AVIC) will together develop a world-class engineering organization and the (JV) itself will be creating new (IP) and new technology. This is a 50/50 partnership; you have to be all in and be very committed."
Safran group companies, Labinal and Aircelle signed agreements with Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Company (SAMC) and Airbus (EDS) respectively. Labinal’s framework agreement with COMAC (CCC) subsidiary, (SAMC) will establish an airplane wiring joint venture (JV) company, while Aircelle was selected by Airbus (EDS) to supply the complete integrated nacelle package for the A320neo family.
"After Safran’s selection as supplier of the complete propulsion system for the COMAC (CCC) C919, this agreement marks a further step forward in the group’s role in the success of this commercial airplane," said Safran Executive VP Aircraft Equipment, Yves Leclère. (SAMC) will own 51% of the joint venture (JV) and Labinal 49%.
Under terms of its contract, Aircelle will work with (GEC)’s Middle River Aircraft Systems. "This is a major win for Aircelle in the promising and challenging single-aisle airlines segment," said Aircelle Chairman & CEO, Vincent Mascre. "Aircelle will take full responsibility for the complete nacelle, including integration on the engine." Last autumn, Aircelle and Xi'an Aircraft International Corporation signed a contract to produce and assemble nacelle components in Xi'an for the C919 and potentially other airplanes.
March 2011: The Chief Designer of the 150- to 170-seat C919, Wu Guanghui, said (COMAC) (CCC) expects to secure more orders for the (CFM) (Leap-X)-powered airplane this year. (COMAC) booked orders and commitments for 100 C919s from four Chinese carriers, (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GEC) and China Development Bank Leasing Company at the Zhuhai Air Show last November.
Wu didn't identify which company or companies are in negotiations to order the airplane but he emphasized, "We not only need to make sure the C919 is a technological success but also have to ensure its commercial success." He predicted that total C919 sales will reach 2,000 over the next 20 years, accounting for more than >50% of narrow body demand in China. Based on Boeing (TBC)'s forecast released last November, China will need a total of 4,330 airplanes over the next 20 years, including 3,090 single-aisle airplanes.
"Domestic carriers, such as China's big three and other medium and small airlines, all hope to operate the C919 as soon as possible," Wu asserted. "Of course, some of those airplanes will enter the international market."
(COMAC) announced that the C919 will enter the final design definition phase this year. Detailed design will be completed by 2012 and first flight is slated for 2014. According to (COMAC) (CCC)'s timeline, type certification will be accomplished by 2016 followed shortly thereafter by first delivery.
April 2011: AVIC's Commercial Aircraft Engine Corporation (CCC) is accelerating the research and development (R&D) of a domestically produced, second engine option for the 150-seat COMAC C919, according to General Manager, Wang Zhilin.
(CCC) selected the (CFM) International (LEAP-X1C) to power the C919, which is set to enter service in 2016. COMAC said from the start that its deal with (CFM) is not exclusive, and it eventually intended to add a domestically produced powerplant.
Wang said (R&D) on the Chinese C919 engine is "going well," adding that AVIC plans to "complete production of a demonstration engine in 2016 to enter service around 2020."
The C919 will enter the final design definition phase this year. Detailed design will be completed by 2012 and its first flight is slated for 2014. According to COMAC's timeline, type certification will be accomplished by 2016, followed shortly thereafter by first delivery.
May 2011: Fokker Technologies confirmed it signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with (COMAC) (CCC). The agreement was signed in Shanghai by (COMAC) President, Jin Zhuanglong and Fokker Technologies CEO, Sjoerd Vollebregt. According to Dutch News Service "(NIS) New Bulletin," the partnership covers “the development and supply of components for planes.”
(CCC)’s C919 is scheduled to enter service in 2016; The ARJ21 will begin service at the end of 2011. Fokker has maintained a presence in China since 1997, when it launched the Fokker Elmo aerospace program manufacturing facility in Langfang, part of a joint venture (JV) with (AVIC).
June 2011: Comac (CCC) plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with low-cost carrier (LCC), Ryanair (RYR) to co-operate on (CCC)'s C919 narrow body, in a move that (CCC) hopes will lead to orders. The agreement is to be signed on 21 June at Comac (CCC)'s new European office in Paris, which will be officially established on 19 June.
Calling the deal a "market co-operation agreement, they [Ryanair (RYR)] are an airline, while we are an aircraft manufacturer. We hope to understand their needs and to incorporate them into the design of the C919" said (CCC).
(RYR) is in talks with (CCC) to acquire the Comac C919 narrow body and could order hundreds of airplanes, said (RYR)'s CEO, Michael O'Leary. "We have started discussions on pricing . . . if we do order, there is no point for us to order just a few, it would be over 200 airplanes," O'Leary said after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Comac (CCC).
The agreement will see the airline working with (CCC) on the design of the C919. (RYR) is keen on a stretched 200-seat version of the C919, said O'Leary, who added that the C919 baseline model is "a little bit small".
The C919, scheduled to enter into service in 2016, can take 168Y seats in an all-economy configuration. (RYR)'s fleet of 737-800s have 189Y seats each. "The extra 10 seats in a larger version of the C919 will help," said O'Leary.
(RYR) could start off by operating the baseline version, but (RYR) would eventually prefer a larger airplane. "We could start with 20 to 30 airplanes at the start, during the first or second year. We could take the baseline version first, as long as a bigger version comes along," said O'Leary.
(RYR) has about 30 more 737 deliveries to come until early 2012, but has so far failed to agree terms with Boeing (TBC) or Airbus (EDS) covering a further large airplane deal. O'Leary foresees a need for new deliveries to begin in 2017.
While O'Leary said he is keen to see a third competitor in the narrow body market, he acknowledged that Comac (CCC) has its work cut out for it in terms of meeting the 2016 entry into service date.
"It will be a challenge for Comac (CCC). Can they meet that demand within China and the international market? But it's also an opportunity. They have to show they can compete with Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC)," he said.
O'Leary dismisses criticism of the C919 program, and believes the airplane will be able to meet USA and European safety standards, saying that the Chinese airplane manufacturing industry is no longer a "laughing stock".
"I think it's [the criticism] rubbish. Will passengers fly on a Chinese airplane? Of course they will fly on a bloody Chinese airplane."
Comac (CCC) is developing the C919, which is scheduled to enter service in 2016. The company is aiming to get the airplane certificated by the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), so it can be marketed overseas.
The launch of the Airbus (EDS) A320neo program has had a side benefit for the Comac (CCC) C919 airplane project. "An increase in fan size for Neo means the C919 will get a performance boost," said Olivier Savin, Executive VP at (CFM), the engine maker that is supplying its (Leap) engine for the twinjet, on the eve of the Paris Air Show.
"It's a common engine," said Savin, with 95% commonality between the (Leap-X1A) for the Neo and the (Leap-X1C) for the C919. "The core is almost the same, the difference is in the installation," said Francois Bastin, (Leap) Project Manager. He said this is because the C919 comes with an integrated propulsion system including the engine and nacelle. "In terms of technical performance, it's the same," he said.
(CFM) is "looking at final assembly in China" for the engine. A decision on whether to go ahead would be entirely made on business grounds and is under evaluation, said Savin.
Comac (CCC) has formally signed an agreement with engine manufacturer (CFM) International, making its (Leap-X1C) engine the sole powerplant to launch the Comac C919 narrow body program. (CFM) International will be the sole foreign integrated propulsion system provider for the C919, said Comac (CCC).
The two companies signed the master contract during the Paris Air Show. The contract is the first such master contract on airborne systems signed by Comac (CCC) for the C919 program. It expects the remainder to be formalised this year.
Other international suppliers on the C919 also formalised joint ventures (JV)s with Chinese manufacturers for their work on the airplane program. Comac subsidiary, Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing (SAM) signed an agreement with Safran's Labinal to set up a joint venture to provide the C919's electrical wiring interconnection systems. The Shanghai-based joint venture (JV) will be 51% owned by (SAM), while Labinal will hold the remaining 49%.
In addition, Germany's Liebherr-Aerospace has signed a deal with Chinese aerospace company (AVIC)'s landing gear subsidiary to establish a 50:50 joint venture to supply the C919's landing gear system.
August 2011: The China Aircraft Leasing Company (CHD) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with (COMAC) (CCC) to purchase 20 (CFM) (Leap-X)-powered C919 airplanes.
Hong Kong-based (CHD) plans to lease the C919s mainly to Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and China Southern Airlines (GUN). (CHD) was launched in 2006 and has regional offices in Beijing, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Germany, and Ireland.
The C919 will enter the final design definition phase this year. Detailed design will be completed by 2012 and first flight is slated for 2014. According to COMAC (CCC)'s timeline, the airplane should receive type certification by 2016, followed shortly thereafter by first delivery.
Wu Guanghui, the chief designer of the 150-170-seat C919, predicted earlier this year that total C919 sales will reach 2,000 over the next 20 years, accounting for more than >50% of narrow body demand in China.
(CCC) Chairman, Zhang Qingwei stepped down from overseeing the company that, among various projects, produces the C919 airplane. The move was made following his appointment by China's central government in Beijing to be acting Governor of Hebei province.
Zhang said that he will "fully support the central government's decision." His tenure as Chairman of COMAC (CCC) started in March 2008. (CCC) did not formally announce a successor, which may "take a few days to be revealed."
The C919 will enter the final design definition phase this year. Detailed design will be completed by 2012 and first flight is slated for 2014. According to (CCC)'s timeline, the airplane should receive type certification by 2016, followed shortly thereafter by first delivery.
September 2011: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) may postpone its first ARJ21 delivery to Chengdu Airlines (UEG), according to an industry insider, who said some key parts haven’t passed flights tests. The ARJ21 is scheduled to be delivered at the end of the year.
A (UEG) spokesperson said that (UEG) has not been informed of any delivery delay and was moving forward with the original delivery plan.
(COMAC) (CCC) is the majority (UEG) stakeholder with a 48% holding, while Sichuan Airlines (SIC) holds 40.97%.
(UEG) was launched in 2004 as United Eagle Airlines (UEG). In March 2009, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) invested $30 million in (UEG), for a 76% stake. In late 2009, these shares were sold to (COMAC) (CCC) and the Chengdu Communications Investment Group. Following this ownership change, (UEG) placed a firm order for 30 ARJ21s. In January 2010, the airline was renamed Chengdu Airlines (UEG).
The ARJ21, which to date has received 340 orders, is in the test-flight phase to gain (CAAC) (CAC) certification. It is working toward gaining (FAA) certification, paving the way to put its international marketing plan into action.
China's AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Company (CCC) and Germany's (MTU) Aero Engines signed a "key terms agreement" regarding the launch of a joint venture (JV) that would be primarily responsible for developing and producing a domestic powerplant for the (COMAC) C919, China's 150-seat airplane. The new agreement follows a Memo of Understanding (MOU) inked last year.
The (JV) is expected to be based in Shanghai. The stake-holding structure has not been decided.
The C919 will enter the final design definition phase this year. Detailed design will be completed by 2012 and first flight is slated for 2014.
According to (COMAC)'s timeline, the airplane should receive type certification by 2016, followed shortly thereafter by first delivery.
The first run of production airplanes will be powered by a variation of the (Leap-X) engine being produced by (CFM) International, which won the exclusive Western-built powerplant contract on the airplane. It was always understood that China would move to develop a domestically made engine option for the C919.
(CCC) expects to get new orders for the (CFM) (Leap-X)-powered C919 next month, according to Chief Accountant, Tian Min.
Tian declined to identify the customers but noted they include Chinese and overseas carriers. He said that orders would be for more than >50 airplanes.
Tian also said that Ryanair (RYR), International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), and others had shown a lot of interest in the C919 and signed (MOU)s with the Chinese manufacturer.
(COMAC) (CCC) booked orders and commitments for 100 C919s from four Chinese carriers (Air China (BEJ), China Southern Airlines (GUN), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Hainan Airlines (HNA)), GE Capital Aviation Services (GEF) and China Development Bank Leasing Company at the Zhuhai Air Show in November. China Aircraft Leasing Company reportedly signed a (LOI) with (CCC) to purchase 20 (CFM) (Leap-X)-powered C919 airplanes in August.
The C919 will enter the final design definition phase this year. Detailed design will be completed by 2012 and first flight is slated for 2014.
According to (CCC)'s timeline, the airplane should receive type certification by 2016, followed shortly thereafter by first delivery.
COMAC (CCC) said in a recent forecast that China will need 4,700 new airplanes in the next 20 years. “We hope [the] C919 will account for one-third shares of the Chinese market in the next 20 years,” (CCC) Marketing Director, Dang Tiehong said.
October 2011: (ICBC) Financial Leasing Company, a subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, has ordered 45 (CFM) (Leap-X)-powered Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919 airplanes.
SEE ATTACHED - - "CCC-2011-10 - LEAP ENGINE."
(ICBC) Leasing, the biggest financial leasing company in China, has a total fleet of 70 airplanes.
(CCC) has received 145 orders for the C919, which will enter the final design definition phase this year. Detailed design will be completed by 2012 and first flight is slated for 2014. According to (CCC), the airplane should receive type certification by 2016, followed shortly thereafter by first delivery.
Later, Sichuan Airlines (SIC) ordered 20 (COMAC) (CCC) C919s. The deal increases the backlog for the single-aisle plane to 165.
Chengdu Airlines (UEG) has confirmed that Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has pushed its first ARJ21 delivery into next year. The delivery, originally scheduled for November 28, was reportedly delayed owing to the inability of some key parts to pass flight tests, according to an industry insider.
The ARJ21, which has received 340 orders, is in the test-flight phase to gain (CAAC) (CAC) certification. It is working toward gaining (FAA) certification, paving the way to put its international marketing plan into action.
(UEG) said the ARJ21 delivery delay will not affect its normal operations and plans to introduce one A320 next month to make up for the delay.
November 2011: China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Company, a subsidiary of China’s Bank of Communications, has placed a firm order for 30 Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919s.
(COMAC) now has 195 orders for C919s. (COMAC) Marketing Director, Chen Jin said that (CCC) is negotiating with some foreign companies and expects more new orders this year. Ryanair (RYR) is reported to be one potential customer.
By 2020, (COMAC) expects to produce 150 C919s annually.
November 2011: Hebei Airlines (NTE) has placed a firm order for 10 ARJ21s, according to the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC). Earlier reports place the value of the order at $30 million at list prices.
This year, (NTE) went through a share restructuring when Hebei Aviation Group, the Hebei provincial government-controlled company, acquired a 62% stake in (NTE). The acting Governor of Hebei, Zhang Qingwei, was formerly the (COMAC) Chairman.
(COMAC) has received 340 orders for the ARJ21, which is in the test-flight phase to gain (CAAC) certification. (COMAC), which was scheduled to deliver its first ARJ21 to Chengdu Airlines on November 28, has pushed back delivery into next year owing to the inability of some key parts to pass flight tests.
December 2011: (COMAC) (CCC) now has 215 orders for t6he C919. By 2020, (CCC) expects to produce 150 C919s annually.
January 2012: The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) reported a net profit of +CNY12.2 billion (+$1.94 billion) in 2011, up +18.8% over a net income of +CNY10.3 billion in 2010. Operating revenue increased +23% to CNY258.1 billion, according to (AVIC) General Manager, Lin Zuoming.
Industry analysts said the “successful acquisitions of companies home and abroad” contributed to the improved results. In the past three years, (AVIC) has acquired 58 companies home and abroad, which increased operating revenue by +CNY50 billion and boosted net income by +CNY600 million in 2011.
(AVIC) said it is committed to pushing forward with overseas acquisitions in the future. “Our first goal is to target foreign aviation companies and to acquire relevant manufacturing enterprises, including automobile components manufacturing companies, [which is] our second goal,” Lin said.
Going forward, (AVIC) expects to boost operating revenue by 16.2% to CNY300 billion and increase net profit by +23% to +CNY15 billion. (AVIC) may also launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in the near future.
February 2012: (BOC) Aviation (SIL) has placed an order for 20 150-seat Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919s. It operates a fleet of more than >170 airplanes with average fleet age of four years.
(COMAC) reportedly has 235 orders for the C919 from customers including Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Southern Airlines (GUN), Hainan Airlines (HNA), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Company, China Development Bank Leasing Company, (ICBC) Financial Leasing Company, China Aircraft Leasing Company and (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEF).
(CAAC) Minister, Li Jiaxiang said the regulator encourages Chinese carriers to purchase domestically produced trunk liners and supports using the C919 on international routes.
The C919 entered the final design definition phase last year. Detailed design will be completed this year and the first flight is scheduled for 2014. Type certification is expected by 2016, followed by first delivery. By 2020, (COMAC) expects to produce 150 C919s annually.
Bombardier and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for an expanded cooperation to support the financing of commercial airplane sales in China and globally.
“Bombardier’s portfolio of commercial airplanes is well positioned to meet China’s rapidly growing air transport infrastructure, and (AVIC) Leasing will use this (MOU) to work with airlines and develop solutions to their varied business requirements,” said (AVIC) President, Zhao Hong Wei.
More than >80 Bombardier-produced airplanes operate in China. Over the next 20 years, Bombardier forecasts a demand for almost 2,400 commercial airplanes in the 60- to 149-seat segment in China and is working closely with local airlines, suppliers and stakeholders to assist in fleet and infrastructure expansion.
The Commercial Aircraft Company of China (COMAC) (CCC) and Liebherr-Aerospace have signed a firm contract for C919 landing gear and air management systems. (COMAC) also finalized an agreement with Moog for the C919’s high lift system.
These contracts demonstrate “that [the] C919 program enters in its comprehensive engineering development phase,” (COMAC) said following the signing of these contracts at the Singapore Airshow. Last year, it signed the first two master contracts for the C919 program: with (CFM) International for Integrated Propulsion System and with Honeywell Aerospace (SGC) for the Auxiliary Power System.
“As scheduled, (COMAC) will complete the contract signing of all 33 major airborne systems in the first half of this year,” it said.
Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg will develop, supply and service the C919’s landing gear system, including the main landing gear and nose landing gear, extension and retraction system and the position and warning system. The accord includes the creation of a joint venture (JV) with (AVIC) Landing-gear Advanced Manufacturing Company in the Hunan province. The letter of intent (LOI) for the cooperation was signed in 2010, and the (JV) was presented at the Paris Airshow in June.
Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse will supply the air management system for the new single-aisle 150-seat passenger jet. The firm contract follows a (LOI) signed in 2010.
Indonesia's state-run airlines firm PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines (PNM) is planning to expand its fleet up to 75 planes by 2017 by purchasing jet planes from China, the ARJ21-700, an airlines senior official said.
The signing of purchase contract Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 40 ARJ21-700 planes was conducted in the opening day of the Singapore Air Show on February 14, witnessed by Indonesian state-owned Enterprises Minister, Dahlan Iskan, (PNM) President Director, Sarjono Djony Tjitrokusumo said.
He said that the plane that accommodates 100 passengers was acquired at $30 million each, produced by (AVIC) International Holding Corporation/Commercial Aircraft Corporation (CCC) of China.
"Delivery of the planes is scheduled to commence in 2014 until 2017. Ten are expected to get delivered each year starting from 2014," Sarjono said. (PNM) now operates 35 planes from various types in its fleet that mostly serving in eastern Indonesia region.
The purchase on the ARJ21-700 planes was expected to improve relationship between Indonesia and China particularly in aviation industry and to develop (PNM)'s reliable, safe and economical transportation network, he said. According to Sarjono, the purchase contract would constitute Indonesian aviation industry, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), in the plane's production process. (PTDI)'s involvement was related to a clause in the contract to fit local components in the plane' s production.
Sarjono said that (PNM) had already pocketed commitments from Chinese financers regarding its purchase plan on ARJ21-700 planes.
March 2012: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) and Boeing (TBC) announced a collaboration agreement to partner in areas that will enable commercial aviation industry growth in China and potentially around the world. This is the first collaboration agreement between COMAC (CCC) and Boeing (TBC) which was signed in Beijing.
As part of the agreement, both companies will create the Boeing (TBC)-(COMAC) (CCC) Aviation Energy Conservation & Emissions Reductions Technology Center which will be located at (COMAC)'s Beijing Civil Aircraft Technology Research Center.
The Boeing (TBC)-(COMAC) (CCC) Center will support research projects to increase commercial aviation's fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, (TBC) and (CCC) agreed to have annual leadership engagements and exchange commercial aviation market forecasts.
"Through this collaboration agreement, Boeing (TBC) and (COMAC) (CCC) will build relationship and will further sustainable growth and fuel efficiency for China's fast-growing aviation market," said Jim Albaugh, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & (CEO). SEE PHOTO - - "CCC-2012-03-BOEING AGREEMENT."
The companies will collaborate with China-based universities and research institutions to expand knowledge of technologies and will jointly select and fund research projects.
"We are hoping that innovative emissions-reduction technologies developed through the Boeing-(COMAC) Center will advance aviation in China and around the world," said Marc Allen, Boeing China President.
Further to the framework agreement signed on March 24, 2011, Jin Zhuanglong, Chairman, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) (CCC) and Pierre Beaudoin, President & (CEO), Bombardier Inc (BMB) signed a definitive agreement covering program commonalities between the C919 and CSeries airplanes. More specifically, the two leading airplane manufacturers have agreed to cooperate on four distinctive projects to be executed as part of the first phase of (COMAC) and Bombardier (BMB)’s long-term collaboration on the C919 airplane and the CSeries families of commercial airliners.
The four initiatives on which (COMAC) and (BMB) will be collaborating as part of this initial phase are commonality on: 1) the cockpit human-machine (crew) interfaces, 2) the electrical system, 3) the development of aluminum-lithium standards and specifications, and 4) areas of customer services in terms of technical publications and co-location of teams. All four projects are expected to be completed over the next 12 months and in conjunction with the C919 airplane development schedule.
This first collaborative phase further reinforces the strategic long-term relationship between (COMAC) and (BMB) and demonstrates the complementary nature of the C919 and CSeries airplane programs. Both parties will continue exploring other possibilities for cooperation with regards to airplane program commonalities, joint procurement, synergies in development and customer services, as well as collaboration on (BMB) and (COMAC) programs.
May 2012: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has launched a joint venture (JV) airplane finance lease company with the Pudong Development Bank and the Shanghai International Group.
The new (JV) has a registered capital of CNY2.7 billion/$426 million. The Pudong Development Bank is the controlling stakeholder with a 66.67% stake, (COMAC) holds 22.22% stake and the Shanghai International Group holds 11.11% ownership.
Industry analysts say the new venture is expected to pave the way for (COMAC) to sell its C919 as the Chinese manufacturer explores the fast-growing domestic airplane leasing market.
The C919 has won some orders from other domestic banks’ finance lease companies. Last year, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC Leasing) placed a firm order for 45 C919s and the Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Company ordered 30 C919s.
June 2012: During China´s Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao’s visit to Brazil for the "Rio+20" Conference, in a signing ceremony witnessed by leaders from both nations, Embraer (EMB) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) signed an agreement to build Embraer’s (EMB)'s Legacy 600/650 executive jets in China, using the infrastructure, financial resources and workforce of their joint venture (JV) Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Company, Ltd. (HEAI), which started operations in 2002.
The agreement is based on the understanding of both parties about the potential demand of China’s flourishing executive aviation market, and their wish to extend their decade-long strategic partnership. (HEAI)’s first executive jet is expected to be delivered by the end of 2013.
“Today´s announcement marks another milestone in the history of (EMB)’s long term commitment to China and of Brazil-Sino bilateral relations. This new phase of (AVIC)-Embraer (EMB) partnership corroborates what has been referred to by state leaders of both countries as ‘a model of South-South cooperation’,” said Frederico Fleury Curado, (EMB) President & (CEO).
“The achievement of Sino-Brazil cooperation in the field of aviation is a hard-won, indispensable of the joint efforts from state leaders and the industry players of both countries. The cooperation on executive jets manufacturing, as the continuation of what the two parties have attained via the joint venture, fits in the strategic development of all parties. It is undoubtedly a win-win strategic international cooperation. As the leader of China’s aviation industry, (AVIC) will seize the opportunity to develop a platform building executive jets that will meet the demand of the global and China markets, and ultimately assist China’s executive aviation industry progressing into a new stage,” said Tan Ruisong, President of Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
Embraer (EMB)’s presence in China dates back to 2000, when its Beijing Representative Office was established. In June 2010, in light of its increasing customer base, the Company set up its first wholly owned subsidiary in China, the Embraer (China) Aircraft Technical Services Company Ltd., focusing on after sale support.
To date, Embraer (EMB) has 154 firm orders from China market, with 116 airplanes already delivered. (EMB) accounts for around 78% of China’s regional aviation market and is gaining strength in its executive segment with 18 firm orders for executive jets in the year 2011. The cooperation with (AVIC) on the Legacy 600/650 program further consolidates Embraer (EMB)’s presence in China’s executive aviation market.
The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) Financial Leasing Company has placed an order for 45 Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) (COMAC) C919s.
Including this order, (COMAC) has received 280 orders for the C919 from customers including Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Southern Airlines (GUN), Hainan Airlines (HNA), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Company, China Development Bank Leasing Co., ICBC Financial Leasing Co., China Aircraft Leasing Company, (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEF), and (BOC) Aviation (SIL).
Though most of the airplanes’s customers are domestic, (COMAC) VP, Wu Guanghui said its negotiations with customers outside China are going “better than expected.”
The C919 entered the final design definition phase last year. Detailed design will be completed this year and the first flight is scheduled for 2014. Type certification is expected by 2016, followed by first delivery. By 2020, (COMAC) expects to produce 150 C919s annually.
July 2012: The International Airlines Group (IAG) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) to “carefully consider” ordering the Chinese-produced C919 at the Farnborough Airshow.
According to the (MOU), (COMAC) (CCC) will set up a joint working group with the (IAG) to conduct cooperation in the fields of technology and operation requirements, regulations, financing and client and product services for the C919.
According to a (CCC) insider, (IAG) is the first non-Chinese airline to consider ordering the 150-seat airplane. Last year, Ryanair (RYR) signed a similar (MOU) with (COMAC).
(COMAC) (CCC) has received 280 orders for the C919 from customers, including Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Southern Airlines (GUN), Hainan Airlines (HNA), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Company, China Development Bank Leasing Company, (ICBC) Financial Leasing Company, China Aircraft Leasing Company, (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GEF), and (BOC) Aviation (SIL).
The C919 entered the final design definition phase last year. Detailed design will be completed this year and the first flight is scheduled for 2014. Type certification is expected by 2016, followed by first delivery. By 2020, (COMAC) expects to produce 150 C919s annually.
September 2012: Ryanair (RYR) has reiterated that its discussions with Chinese airframer Comac (CCC) on the potential development of a stretched 199-seat variant of its C919 twinjet are serious and could still yield an order for delivery in the 2018 - 2020 time frame.
Industry observers have been quick to brand (RYR)'s flirtation with the Chinese as little more than a means of beating down incumbent airplane supplier Boeing (TBC) on price. The final delivery under its current order for 189-seat 737-800s is due to take place later this year. However, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary insists (RYR)'s talks with Comac (CCC) represent "a genuine, serious commitment". He believes that all carriers should welcome the emergence of the state-owned airframer as a serious player in commercial aviation ("a real, credible third manufacturer" in the mainline narrow body market) as it will serve to drive down prices.
"It's a great deal for airlines all around the world," he says. "If, all of a sudden, we are all buying Chinese-built airplanes, then Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC)'s pricing strategy gets holed below the waterline."
Interest in the C919 was revealed by British Airways (BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) at the Farnborough air show in July, where it signed a memorandum of understanding to work with Comac (CCC) on the development of the (CFM) International (Leap-1C)-powered C919. O'Leary says (IAG)'s move only serves to add "credibility" to the program.
Any order from (RYR), however, is contingent on Comac (CCC) agreeing to make a stretched variant of the C919. The baseline model is due to enter service in 2016 with up to 168Y seats in an all-economy configuration.
Nonetheless, (RYR) is continuing its discussions with Boeing (TBC) over a potential new near-term order. O'Leary says price is the main sticking point, although he has again expressed his concerns over the design of the re-engined 737 Max, citing the weight increase over the current generation 737-800 as a particular worry. He adds, however: "We are in ongoing discussions with Boeing (TBC) and as soon as we can reach an agreement on price we'll place an order. It could be the 737-800 or the 737 Max, whichever they discount the most - we'd buy a dog, if it was cheap enough. "We'd like to place an order, but only when the price is right."
The China Construction Bank Financial Leasing Corporation (CCB) has ordered 50 Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919s.
Including this order, (COMAC) has received 330 orders for the C919.
An industry insider said (COMAC) expects to receive more C919 orders at November’s Zhuhai Air Show.
Comac (CCC) is firming up plans to manufacture an indigenous wide body airplane and has tentatively scheduled for it to be rolled out around 2025. (CCC) has set aside land for a twin-aisle airplane production facility at its upcoming final assembly center, south of Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.
This is the clearest indication to date of Comac (CCC)'s plans to develop and manufacture wide body aircraft after its indigenous ARJ21 and C919 programs.
Further details of the new wide body were not immediately available. (CCC) has set aside 4,000 acres/1,620 ha at the site, where the C919 will also be assembled.
Construction of the wide body facility will only begin after the C919 program is completed, so as to meet the 2014 first flight target for the narrow body, said (CCC).
"The plan is that once the C919 certification is completed and the airplane goes into full production, then we will focus on the twin-aisle airplanes. The aim is to have our own wide body airplanes by 2025."
The priority for now, however, is on the construction of the narrow body final assembly hangar where the C919 will be put together. Work for this facility started in December 2010, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
On the same 4,000-acre site, construction is also ongoing for a component fixing hangar, an airplane painting facility, a flight test centre and some office buildings.
October 2012: The Aviation Corporation of China (AVIC) (part of (COMAC) (CCC) and (GE) Aviation (GEC) have formally launched a Shanghai-based, integrated avionics joint venture (JV) “to develop and market the new generation of avionics systems with an immediate priority on supporting development of China’s first home-grown big passenger jet” the C919.
The 50/50 (JV), named (GE) - (AVIC) Civil Avionics Systems Company, has won orders for its avionics systems from C919 manufacturer, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), which plans to deliver more than >2,300 C919 airplanes over the 20-year life of the program. This market potential is valued at $2 billion for the (JV), (GEC) said.
Rockwell Collins and the China Electronics Technology Avionics Company (CETCA) have signed an agreement to establish a joint venture (JV) to develop and manufacture the communication and navigation systems for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) (CCC) C919 airplane.
“Our collaboration with (CETCA), a key avionics supplier in China, is sure to deliver many positive outcomes, including deeper relationships in the region, state-of-the-art airplane systems and a stronger foothold in the growth and development of the Chinese aviation industry,” said TC Chan, VP & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, for Rockwell Collins.
In April 2012, Rockwell Collins and China Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI), a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), announced the formation of (AVIC) Leihua Rockwell Collins Avionics Company to bring the latest surveillance products to the C919.
November 2012: Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) are considering a joint effort to construct a short- to medium-haul wide body airplane. “We are discussing these plans with (COMAC), doing some market analysis and researching cooperation possibilities,” (UAC) President, Mikhail Pogosyan said at the Zhuhai Air Show. The airplane, which will target Russian and Chinese markets, will not exceed a 300-seat capacity.
Pogosyan added that (UAC) plans to acquire orders for the Russian regional Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 airplane from Chinese carriers next year. (UAC) estimates the airline market in China will grow an average of +7% per year over the next 10 years. “The carriers will need nearly 700 new regional airplanes during 15 - 20 years,” Pogosyan said. He is sure that, despite the high competition, the SSJ100 will find a place in the Chinese airline market. In this niche, (UAC) will have to compete with (COMAC)’s ARJ21.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has won 50 orders for the 150-seat C919 at the Zhuhai Air Show. The orders comprise 20 from Hebei Airlines (NTE), 20 from Joy Air (JOY) and 10 from (GECAS) (GEF).
In addition, (COMAC) also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with USA-based defunct Eastern Air Lines for future sales of the airplanes to the USA. "Reuters" is reporting “sporadic reports of efforts to relaunch the airline, whose forked logo was seen on display as a backdrop to the signing ceremony.”
The International Airlines Group (IAG) and Ryanair (RYR) have also signed (MOU)s for the C919.
To date, (COMAC) has received 380 orders for the C919. The C919 entered the final design definition phase last year. Detailed design will be completed this year and the first flight is scheduled for 2014. Type certification is expected by 2016, followed by first delivery. By 2020, (COMAC) expects to produce 150 C919s annually.
According to the most recent market forecast released by (COMAC) at the Zhuhai Air Show, China will need 4,960 airplanes by 2031 in which 3,405 will be narrow body airplanes.
(COMAC) will delay delivery of its regional jet ARJ21 again for “one or two years” because of “inexperience in certification in terms of methods and infrastructure,” according to (COMAC) VP, Luo Ronghuai.
The Chinese-produced regional jet was off the assembly line in December 2007 and inaugurated its maiden flight on November 28, 2008. The delivery of the ARJ21 was originally slated for 2007, but was pushed to November 28 for Chengdu Airlines and then delayed to this year due to the “inability of some key parts to pass flight tests.”
“We think safety is the No 1 priority compared with delivery schedule,” Luo said. (COMAC) now has six regional jets undergoing ground and flight tests. The jets have accumulated more than >2,800 flight hours. (COMAC) has received 252 orders for the ARJ21, most of which are domestic airlines and leasing companies including (GECAS) (GEF), which means the airplane must also receive an airworthiness certificate from the USA (FAA).
Industry analysts pointed out the continuous ARJ21 delivery delays will have a negative impact on (COMAC)’s C919 program. But Luo disagreed. “The ARJ21 would help us to accumulate relevant experience in receiving an airworthiness certificate for the C919, which actually would be conducive to enhance our overall civil airplane production level,” he said.
January 2013: Chinese carriers reported a 2012 net profit of +CNY21.1 billion/+$3.39 billion, down -22.7% compared to +CNY27.3 billion in 2011. The profit decline is due to a slowdown of domestic market demand growth, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) (CAC).
“Last year the growth of domestic market demand started to slow down and international market demand still hasn’t fully recovered owing to the economic recession in Western countries. But average capacities increased by +12%, which led to the drop of load factors and air fares,” Ping’an Securities aviation analyst, Sun Chao said.
This trend became increasingly apparent in the 2012 fourth quarter, when domestic airlines reported a net loss of -CNY120 million in December after posting a net deficit of -CNY570 million in November.
Chinese carriers reduced fuel costs -2.2% in December year-over-year, but exchange gains fell -83.03% to CNY280 million.
Looking forward, Chao said domestic airlines would see lower fuel expenses this year than in 2012, but domestic market demands will see slower growth.
China Eastern Airlines (CEA) Chairman, Liu Shaoyong predicted the second half will improve for the Chinese air transport market.
(COMAC) (CCC) has signed a commercial and technical cooperation agreement with the Alcoa Global Fasteners Company. Under the agreement, Alcoa will provide “a large number of” technical services and fastener products in support of the (COMAC) C919 commercial airplane program.
(COMAC) said the agreement will enable the two companies to carry out “more in-depth cooperation in the fastening system technical support, technical specifications of fasteners system optimization, to promote the C919 large airplane project and the common development of both sides.”
Air China (BEJ) has become the first Chinese carrier to trial free in-flight Wi-Fi service on its A330-300 Beijing - Chengdu service.
Using satellite communication systems, Air China (BEJ) passengers can access social media websites, email and stock market information on tablets or laptops. However, passengers cannot access the Wi-Fi service from smartphones. “Even though laptops and tablets are allowed, cell phones still can’t be used on flights as they may endanger safety,” an airline spokesperson said.
“The technology is only used on certain types of fights. But it will be used on more flights, although this might be a slow process due to the restriction of the technology and the flight type,” the spokesperson added.
As early as 2011, (BEJ) launched its first live trial of Gogo’s in-flight entertainment (IFE) system and intra-cabin connection service on its 737-800, Beijing - Chengdu route.
Hainan Airlines (HNA) plans to test in-flight Wi-Fi service; China Eastern (CEA) has similar plans.
August 2013: Comac (CCC)'s managers must be pretty embarrassed by the announcement that their flagship program, the 158-seat C919 airliner, will make a delayed first flight at the end of 2015. Face is important in China, and there is a lot of it to lose if one is running a priority program intended to make the country proud.
But maybe they should recall that not only is commercial airplane development difficult even for an experienced organization; it is all the harder for them because China has been in such a rush. And no one in the program is to blame for Comac (CCC) inevitably being a Chinese state agency with burdensome bureaucratic culture.
Under the circumstances, they are not doing too badly, say some industry executives with good insight into the program. The delay announced this month means the C919, scheduled at program launch in 2008 to go into service in 2016, will not reach customers before 2017, and quite likely not until 2018. Admittedly, 10 years is a long time from launch to entry into service (EIS). But Boeing (TBC) took nearly eight years to get the 787 into service, and it had been through the process seven times before. Meanwhile, Comac (CCC)'s ARJ21 regional jet, launched in 2002, is finally looking stable, on track for entry into service (EIS) in mid-2014.
The C919 delay is the second for that program. The first, shifting the first flight from June 2014 to the second quarter of 2015, was not announced. The 2016 first-delivery target, not publicly revised, is unachievable. While an experienced Western manufacturer might allow just a year for flight-testing and related certification work, industry executives believe Comac (CCC) will need its originally scheduled two years, even with expected help from Bombardier. So (EIS) in late 2017 looks likely if all goes well, and in 2018 if unexpected problems crop up, as they often do.
The new schedule reflects the realistic attitude of the current head of (CCC), Jin Zhuanglong. “The goal is not to fly an airplane that is not certifiable,” one industry executive quotes Jin as saying. The official adds: “This [the delay] is good news, because flying an airplane that is not representative of the production version is a big mistake.” (CCC) is making faster progress with its structure suppliers, all (Avic) units, than it is in systems. The C919 has entered the manufacturing stage, with 95% of its parts designed, says Zhang Yanzhong, who announced the delay and is the Director of an expert committee that is advising the cabinet on the program. Assembly will begin next year, he says.
Roll-out of the first prototype must also have been delayed a second time. After the first postponement, it was supposed to happen in December 2014, but (CCC) cannot plan to have the airplane sitting on the ground for a year before flying. A sixth airplane was added to the flight-test program.
The C919 iron bird, a ground rig on which systems are tested, is finally being fitted, at first to trial mechanical and hydraulic systems; by mid-2014 it will be fully operational with all systems, says an official. As recently as a month ago, nothing was mounted, a strong sign of slow development.
Zhang attributed the delay to (CCC)'s “present level of technological expertise and experience in building commercial airplanes,” an assessment that squares with the long-standing view of industry officials familiar with the program.
But that is not the whole story. For a start, (CCC) should not be so inexperienced, because it was supposed to have gained knowledge and experience with the ARJ21. The shaky C919 progress bolsters arguments of Chinese industry executives that the country has been moving too fast. In their view, China should have launched a turboprop airliner early last decade, instead of the ARJ21, then a regional jet followed by something like the C919. Compounding the error, the C919 was launched when the ARJ21 was years from certification.
Some people with insight into the C919 program say Comac (CCC) has a remarkable amount of money and talented engineers that it liberally throws at problems. Others say that not enough trained personnel are available. “For each major system, they have a few relatively good people,” says an industry official. “But many more are needed.” Also, the ARJ21's struggles have drawn away key people.
Perhaps comparable with inexperience and the engineering shortage is the problem of (CCC)'s governmental culture. Delegation is not well practiced in the Chinese state, and (CCC) managers often prefer to push decisions to their superiors. Groups working on disparate C919 systems are not always interacting as well as they should be with each other. Last year, (CCC) acted on that problem by appointing managers with responsibility across several systems. (Avic), an older organization, suffers from the same culture, but (CCC) was supposed to be more modern. Insiders say it is worse, because the C919 is a national and therefore political project.
The program was late in supplier selection and then very slow in contracting with the suppliers, though they generally moved ahead without agreements. Detail design and fixing the structural layout of the airplane have been delayed. As late as the first half of this year, the center wingbox was changed from composite to conventional aerospace aluminum construction, and (CCC) had still not chosen a material for the fuselage. The new metal wing box was ready, however.
Some C919 suppliers have been quite late in meeting targets. In some cases that was because they underestimated the time they would take to form required joint companies with divisions of (Avic); that held up the systems the joint companies would produce. The program has also been slow to define the system interfaces, which suppliers need to finalize designs.
As a Chinese state agency, (CCC) has been declaring milestones passed and targets achieved even though not all work has been performed. The preliminary design review of the C919 was declared complete in December 2011 when important issues still remained to be sorted out; some aspects of the approved design were later changed. Suppliers' work has been reassigned.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has been slow at times. For example, it must perform conformity inspections, ensuring that parts and systems meet specifications and match drawings. The (FAA) will not yet routinely endorse the Chinese certification, so the (CAAC) must take the time to notify the (FAA) of conformity inspections. Also, Chinese documents need translation for the (FAA).
Comac (CCC) is aiming at completing ARJ21 flight-testing by the end of the year, leaving six months for further certification work. “There seem to be no major problems,” says an industry official. Another, agreeing, says the development schedule has been realistic since last year, when the 2014 target was set. The third volume-production ARJ21 is now under assembly and should be completed by the end of the year. (CCC) has ordered equipment for 20 production airplanes.
The third prototype, (AC103), completed ground and flight tests for hot and humid conditions last month at Changsha. (AC102) demonstrated high-altitude field performance at Golmud, Qinghai, in June. (CCC) quotes (FAA) officials as saying May trials of minimum takeoff speeds were outstanding.
(CCC) is compensating its suppliers for the lateness of ARJ21 certification. More supplier compensation will be due if, as is likely, the ARJ21 misses its production targets.
September 2013: Parker Aerospace and (AVIC) have signed agreements with the municipal governments of Nanjing and Xian to set up two facilities in China to support the fuel, inerting, hydraulic and flight control actuation systems of the country's indigenous Comac C919 narrow body program. This follows the announcement in June that Parker and (AVIC) have sealed a deal to set up two joint-venture companies to support the development of systems for the C919.
October 2013: Comac (CCC) has started research on a 300-seat wide body airplane, that could be jointly developed with Russia - - SEE ATTACHED - - "CCC-2013-10 - WIDE BODY DEVELOPMENT."
The Industrial Bank Financial Leasing Company has ordered 20 C919s from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).
November 2013: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) (CCC) has opened its first overseas subsidiary, Comac America Corporation, on Saturday, November 23 in Newport Beach, California.
Prior to establishing its USA operation, China's state-run airframe manufacturer has already established cooperation with global suppliers, including GE Aviation (GEC), (UTC) (PRW) and Honeywell (SGC). Short-term goals for Comac in the USA include developing business in airworthiness certification, supplier management and marketing.
"Founding of the subsidiary corporation in North America is aimed to further Comac's relationship with local civil aviation authorities, aerospace companies and academic institutions, mainly in areas such as airworthiness certification," Comac said. Comac is still awaiting certification of its ARJ21 regional airliner from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) (CAC), and the establishment of its USA base should help the company obtain (FAA) certification of the airplane in the near future.
December 2013: Comac (CCC) has begun tests on the C919 iron bird ground rig, performing necessary validation and integration of airplane systems and performing troubleshooting. Currently, (CCC) has 400 airplane orders for the C919 on backlog from Chinese airlines and leasing companies.
The airplane is in its most critical engineering phase in Shanghai, where earlier this month, horizontal stabilizers arrived for the iron bird from Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing. Comac (CCC) is now manufacturing parts and components for the C919 aggressively in five Chinese cities. The company started part installation in August, also announcing then that the C919’s first flight would be pushed back to 2015.
January 2014: The first two ARJ21-700s (China's first home made regional jets developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC) (CCC)) were rolled out from the final assembly line in Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory Company, Ltd on December 30. The two airplanes will be delivered to launch customer, Chengdu Airlines (UEG) next year, marking that China has its home made passenger jet for the first time.
The ARJ21-700 regional jet is not only China's first airliner independently designed in accordance with international standards, but is also the first one to apply for airworthiness certificates from both the (CAAC) and the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). Configured with 5-seats per row cabin layout, the regional jet has a standard range of 2,225 km. For the extended type, the range can be increased to 3,704 km. With 252 orders, the regional jet has received all the required certification. It has completed 2,200 safe takeoffs and landings, as well as more than >4,200 hours of flying.
In May 2013, the ARJ21-700 (105) was transferred to the final assembly factory of (COMAC). This is the first ARJ21-700 to be delivered to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) in 2014.
China's larger airplane, the C919 has achieved impressive progress. The C919's "iron bird" rig, a ground-based test platform on which a new airplane's systems are tested, was officially put into operation, marking the launching of system verification. In 2014, the first C919 test airplane will move into the assembly line.
After the first delivery of the ARJ21 airplane, the company will strive to complete certificate verification in 2014, making good preparation for marketing, according to (COMAC). The C919 airplane will make its maiden flight before the end of 2015. Currently, the C919 has won 380 orders from 15 customers home and abroad, including some foreign customers.
Chengdu Airlines (UEG) hopes to take delivery of first ARJ21 at the end of 2014.
Later, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) ARJ21 regional jet project has been delayed again, with the airplane now due to enter service in April or May 2015, eight years later than scheduled early in the program and 13 years after development began.
February 2014: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) is establishing a branch company in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, which will become an operational resource center for its large airplane C919, covering Personnel Training, Customer Services, and others. Zhuang Haogang, (CCC)'s General Counsel and Chairman of Chengdu Airlines Company ((IATA) Code: EU) (UEG) will be in charge of preparing for the (COMAC) (CCC) Sichuan Branch.
According to staff from Shanghai-based (COMAC), since the ARJ21 will be delivered to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) before the end of this year, the manufacturer needs to do some airplane maintenance, repair, troubleshooting and other maintenance actions; meanwhile, there are some cooperative projects with (AVIC) Chengdu Aircraft, it is necessary to establish a Chengdu Branch. Chengdu Airlines (UEG) has been joining supervising production of the home-made large airplane C919 and staff training. For example, pilots (FC) and dispatchers of the C919 and ARJ21 will take training in Chengdu Airlines (UEG). The (COMAC) Sichuan Branch will build an overall resource support center including technical talented staff (MT) and spare parts contributing to the large passenger airplane C919 that will soon be soaring through the blue skies.
Establishing a sophisticated aviation industry chain in Sichuan is the main reason for this decision. Sichuan Airlines (SIC) has signed a purchase agreement for 20 C919s and Chengdu Airlines (UEG) will operate the maiden flight of (COMAC)'s regional airplane, the ARJ21. Both of them are customers of domestic large passenger airplanes. On the other hand, in the field of airplane manufacture in its upper levels, (AVIC) Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group), is to become an important part supplier of the C919, by taking the responsibility of producing the C919s and ARJ21s. What's more, as China's fourth largest aviation city, Chengdu enjoys a promising future in terms of the civil aviation market. Therefore Chengdu is the best choice by (COMAC) for building a branch company.
As the main vehicle in implementing large passenger airplane programs in China, (COMAC) has been making increasing investment in Sichuan in recent years. As early as 2009, (COMAC) signed an agreement with Sichuan Airlines (SIC) and the Chengdu Communications Investment Group Company to reconstruct the loss-suffering United Eagle Airlines, which was later renamed as Chengdu Airlines (UEG). At that time, (COMAC) became a major shareholder of the Chengdu-based airline (UEG) with a 48% stake. In September 2013, Chengdu Airlines (UEG) signed a cooperation framework agreement on the C919 program with (COMAC), marking a comprehensive cooperation between the two parties. Chengdu Airlines (UEG) became an important part of the domestic large passenger airplane program. During the 2013 Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, (COMAC) inked an investment framework with the local government on civil aviation customer services and an industrial park project, which laid the foundation for constructing a demonstration base for home-made ARJ21 airplanes.
On February 19, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) (CCC) Chairman, Jin Zhuanglong and General Manager, He Dongfeng met with Wang Jiangping, Deputy Governor of Guizhou Province. The two parties had an in-depth exchange of views on how to further enhance their communication and expand achievement of cooperation memorandum in the field of civil aviation. Additionally, Shi Jianzhong, Deputy General Manager of (COMAC) attended the meeting.
During the meeting, Mr Wang initially introduced the situation of economic and social development in Guizhou Province. "In recent years, more and more enterprises in Guizhou Province have shown great interest and participated in the C919 large airplane project. And in response, the government will make full use of its own existing industrial advantages and further improve the infrastructure facilities concerning the large airplane project, to jointly promote the development of China's large airplanes," he said.
On behalf of (COMAC), Jin Zhuanglong expressed thanks to the government for care and support about the large airplane industry. Meanwhile, he hoped the two parties could deepen exchanges and cooperation to jointly promote the development of China's civil aviation industry.
The first test-flight C919 plane will enter the final assembly phase in 2014, and is expected to make its maiden flight in 2015, said Tian Min, Chief Accountant of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China undertaking the development of Chinese large passenger airplanes.
Tian Min said that the Final Assembly Manufacture Center of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) is building a base specializing in the final assembly of C919 airplanes. After its completion, the base will reach an annual capacity of 150 C919 large passenger airplanes and 50 ARJ21 new regional airplanes.
The C919 is the first 150-seat large passenger aircraft with Chinese independent intellectual property rights. It has been designed and developed in strict accordance with international standards. It can meet airlines' operating demands for different routes. So far, orders of C919 airplanes have been obtained from 16 Chinese and overseas customers.
Airbus (EDS) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in an effort to enable a sustainable growth in air transport. Both partners aim to develop a mutual understanding on new air traffic management (ATM) concepts and operations as defined in the (ICAO) Global Air Navigation Plan. Airbus and (COMAC) said they will share best practices and identify improvements required by current (ATM) technology roadmaps both on board the airplanes and on the ground to foster safer, more efficient and sustainable air traffic operations.
According to Airbus (EDS), standardized and interoperable air traffic management (ATM) “will make flights more efficient. Passengers will enjoy shorter traveling time thanks to optimized take-off, landing and taxiing procedures while emissions will be significantly reduced. Lower levels of noise will also benefit people living near to airports.”
(COMAC) President, He Dongfeng said, “Environmental protection, airplane safety and a seamless cooperation between industry players are important factors in promoting a sustainable aviation industry. We will strengthen the cooperation with Airbus in areas like global interoperability, sustainability and airplane safety, deepen the understanding of the world’s latest concepts and operations, best practices and methodologies. Through collaboration, both companies will jointly contribute to the long-term sustainable development of the aviation industry.” As the scope of the cooperation expands, further projects will be launched.
May 2014: The ARJ21-700 regional airliner built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC) (CCC) returned to Xi’an on April 28 after completing test flights in natural icing conditions in Canada.
It was the first time for the airliner, a twin-engined ARJ21-700 - - SEE ATTACHED - - "CCC-ARJ21-700-2014-05," to carry out test flights abroad under special meteorological conditions, sources with (COMAC) said.
It also marked the completion of a 30,000-km flight around the world by the airliner, the country’s first domestically made turbofan-engined regional jet.
During the flights, the anti-icing and de-icing functions of the jet’s wings, windscreen and engine nacelle were tested and flight data were collected.
The test flights demonstrated the airliner’s stability and its ability to cope with extreme weather, said (COMAC) President, He Dongfeng.
The success has also opened a door for China’s civilian airplanes to test abroad and has accumulated knowledge for follow-up tests, He added.
(COMAC) (CCC) has so far received orders for 252 ARJ21-700 jets from 13 customers at home and abroad.
The first two jets, coded 105 and 106, left the assembly line at the end of 2013 and are expected to be delivered early next year.
Comac (CCC) has secured its first order for a business jet variant of the ARJ21 regional jet. Chinese conglomerate Yan Shang Group inked a letter of intent (LOI) with (CCC) on May 10th for the purchase of an ARJ21-700 business jet.
The (LOI) will not only speed up the development of Chinese-made business jets, but also push forward the development of the ARJ21 series, said Comac (CCC). (CCC) has long said that besides the baseline model, it also intends to developed the stretched, freight and business jet variants of the ARJ21.
Comac (CCC) is targeting to achieve certification for its much delayed regional jet by the end of 2014. Progress on the ARJ21 program, which began 12 years ago, has been slow as engineers encountered problems both in development and certification. Comac (CCC) has so far received 252 commitments for the ARJ21, mostly from Chinese airlines and leasing companies.
Later, Comac (CCC) said it is ready to deliver China's first homegrown regional airliner and should complete a bigger plane in 2018. The first two of the ARJ21-700 regional jets have been completed for a Chinese carrier, Chengdu Airlines (UEG), and are coming to the end of the certification process, according to Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC). The company said it has 252 orders.
China launched the ARJ21 project in 2002 in an attempt to break into the Western-dominated airplane market. The plane was promised for 2007 but delivery was pushed back due to technical problems.
China is expected to become one of the world's biggest airplane markets over the next two decades. The Boeing Company (TBC) forecasts total demand at 5,580 planes worth a total of $780 billion.
The ARJ21-700 can seat 78 to 90 passengers depending on its configuration, with a range of 2,225 to 3,700 km/1,300 miles to 2,300 miles. Comac (CCC)said it successfully completed test flights in North America in March and April and has flown 13,000 km/8,000 miles.
The company is targeting China's domestic market and flights to Southeast Asia. "We first want to develop our business in China and then gradually we will go to the international market," Comac (CCC) executive Tian Min told reporters at Comac's assembly and manufacturing center in Shanghai.
Comac (CCC)'s larger C919 is a single-aisle jet meant to compete with Boeing (TBC) and Airbus Industrie (EDS). It can seat up to 168 passengers and has a planned range of 4,000 to 5,100 km/2,500 to 3,200 miles.
The C919 is an official initiative "for China to re-capture the value in airplane manufacturing that currently goes offshore to Airbus and Boeing," said industry analyst Will Horton of (CAPA) Center for Aviation. "With such a large objective, accomplishments will come gradually."
(CCC) has received 400 orders from 16 customers, including airplane leasing company (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GEF). Low cost carrier Ryanair (RYR) and British airlines have signed memorandums of understanding (MOU)s about their intention to purchase planes, Tian said.
He wouldn't disclose price but said developers were focused on controlling costs. Most orders have come from China's state-owned airline industry under government instructions to support the program.
"Global aviation remains pessimistic on the C919, given the ARJ21 delays," said Horton.
On May 15, the first front fuselage of a C919 was delivered by a supplier to Comac (CCC), Tian said. He said the plane will be assembled in the second half of 2014, its maiden flight is due at the end of 2015 and the first delivery to a customer is slated for 2018.
Longer term, Comac (CCC) is cooperating with Russia to build a next-generation wide-body plane. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to China. Tian said Comac (CCC) is working on a feasibility study with Russia.
From its beginning in 2008, Comac (CCC) has focused on developing the two passenger planes. It has grown from 3,800 employees to 8,300.
Earlier news reports said the C919 maiden flight was due in 2014, with delivery in 2016. Tian said those reports were wrong, and Comac (CCC) always planned for its maiden flight to be 90 months from the project launch.
Honeywell (SGC) is moving ahead with development of its Electric Green Taxiing System (EGTS) for narrow body airplanes and is talking to (COMAC) (CCC) about potentially making the system an option on the C919.
Briefing journalists at (SGC)’s Deer Park Valley, Arizona, facility, VP Product Marketing & (EGTS) Business Manager, Jim Fusaro said they were in talks with “north of 30” airlines that are interested in the system.
(EGTS) is being developed by (EGTS) International, a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between Honeywell Aerospace (SGC) and Safran. The tug is fitted to the airplane’s main landing gear and powered by the auxiliary power unit (APU) so that the airplane can be remotely taxied around airports, providing significant savings in fuel, emissions and labor costs.
Airbus (EDS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with (EGTS) International to develop the system for A320 family airplanes that will be provided as a customer option, initially for new airplanes but later as a retrofit.
Fusaro said (SGC) was also in talks with (COMAC), manufacturer of the C919 that is under development in China. (SGC) is making the (APU) for the C919 and Fusaro said it would be capable at powering the (EGTS). “We are talking to (COMAC) (CCC), but they have not decided. We have plans to deploy with the C919 when they are ready,” he said.
Fusaro said an (EGTS) technology demonstrator has been shown to a group of pilots (FC) from some 30 airlines and it has been tested in ice and wet conditions. The system is designed to travel at around 14 knots, eventually going to 19 knots. Some 210 miles and 3,000 hours of rolling tests have been completed as the company aims for a 2017 entry-into-service (EIS) date. (MOU)s have been signed with GoAir (GOZ) and Interjet (AAE).
Unlike the taxing system in development by WheelTug, which uses electric motors in the nosewheels, the Honeywell (SGC) - Safran system has motors in the wheels of the main landing gear. Fusaro said the decision to to power the main rather than nosewheels was based on a number of factors, including the fact that the majority of the airplane's weight is transmitted through the main gear. This should make (EGTS) better equipped to handle adverse surface conditions and provide better aerodynamics.
June 2014: Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)/(IKT) and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) have entered into an agreement to study the feasibility of designing a new wide body jet airplane, according to a statement by Russia’s Ministry of Industry & Trade.
The Ministry said the new jet airplane would have a capacity of 250 - 300 seats and should be competitive with airplanes of the same type from other manufacturers. Currently, only Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC) manufacture jet airplanes of that size.
“We expect both sides to take part in the project on a par that means Russia and China will invest in the project in equal proportion and provide intellectual sources by the same rules,” Russia’s Minister Industry & Trade, Denis Manturov said.
September 2014: News Item A-1: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC), China's biggest domestic airplane manufacturer, will sell 20 ARJ21 regional jets to Comsys Aviation Leasing Company, a small Chinese aviation leasing company.
The deal, whose price tag has yet to be determined, will be finalized at a major air show in Zhuhai later this year, said Lune Wang, Vice General Manager at Comsys. Wang spoke to "Reuters" on the sidelines of an aviation forum in Tianjin. Comsys Leasing has 34 planes in operation, but plans to double the size of its fleet in the near future, Wang added.
The ARJ21, China's first locally built regional jet, aims to compete against Brazil's Embraer SA (EMB) and Canada's Bombardier Inc (BMB). The airplane, which seats about 90 passengers, has not yet been put into commercial service.
COMAC (CCC) says that it has initial and confirmed orders for 258 ARJ21 planes, with orders for C919 standing at 400.
News Item A-2: (CCC) announced that the mid and aft fuselage sections of its first C919 airplane, China's self-developed passenger plane, has arrived in its final assembly base in Pudong, Shanghai on September 17. This is the second major part of the C919 delivered by Hongdu Aviation Industry (Group) Company Ltd after the delivery of the forward fuselage on August 24.
Mr Jin Zhuanglong, Chairman of (COMAC), Mr Wang Wentao, Municipal Party Secretary of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, Mr Wu Guanghui, (COMAC)'s Deputy General Manager and Chief Designer of the C919 passenger airliner, attended the delivery ceremony.
Assembly work on China's homegrown narrow body jet, the C919, will take another year and it should make its maiden flight by the end of 2015, Tian Min, Chief Financial Officer of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), told aviation industry leaders at a (Comac)-organised summit in Shanghai.
The 168-seat C919 has just progressed into the final assembly stage. The delayed project is China's answer to Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) in the narrow body market. The plane has secured 400 orders from 16 customers, Tian said.
ARJ21, (Comac)'s 70-seat regional jet, has 258 orders and is expected to be certified by the Chinese aviation authority this year, he said, adding "we need to increase the ratio" of Chinese-made jets, which currently accounts for only 11% to 16% of the jets in service in the country.
The mainland is forecast to need at least 4,000 passenger jets over the next 20 years, a market worth more than >US$560 billion and which is currently dominated by foreign airplane manufacturers such as Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS).
The C919 was meant to be China's first indigenously built large plane. Its suppliers include General Electric (GEC), Honeywell (SGC) and Liebherr that provide core parts of the airplane such as engines, avionics, and electro-mechanics. The aerostructural parts are mainly made by various manufacturing units under the Aviation Corp of China (AVIC).
Yu Zemin, Deputy General Manager of (Comac) Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing, responsible for the major assembly base outside Shanghai's Pudong airport, said planned production capacity was 70 ARJ21s and 150 C919s a year.
Industry sources said obstacles in technical collaboration may mean further delays in the C919 project, which was originally scheduled for a test flight this year.
News Item A-3: (Comac) (CCC) is also teaming up with Russian manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation (SSJ) in the wide body jet market. "The discussion has made substantial progress and the project is expected to start within this year," Tian said.
Wang Wenbin, a member of Comac's standing committee of science and technology, said the project is pending approval by both countries before the two companies can negotiate details.
October 2014: News Item A-1: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) is planning to design a new wide body airplane with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (SSJ) next year, according to (COMAC) Chairman, Jin Zhuanglong.
Russian media said in June the new wide body would be designed based on the Russian-made Ilyushin IL-96 airplane and would have a capacity of 250 - 300 seats, which should be competitive with airplanes of the same type from other manufacturers. Currently, only Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC) manufacture airplanes that size.
To date, (COMAC) (CCC) is mainly responsible for production of the ARJ21 regional jet and the narrow body C919. Jin said the ARJ21 is expected to get an airworthiness certificate this year and will be delivered to Chengdu Airline (UEG) in the near future.
In addition, the C919 has entered the final assembly line and is scheduled to launch its inaugural flight next year.
November 2014: News Item A-1: China is seeking suppliers to develop its own wide-body passenger plane over the next decade, industry executives said, expanding its ambitions and rivalry with Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS). The proposed airplane (tentatively called the C929) would be state-backed Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC)'s largest, according to suppliers that have held discussions with the firm.
It would be a substantial advance on the smaller 158 - 168 seat narrow-body C919 it is currently developing and the 78 - 90 seat ARJ21 regional jet, which is undergoing test flights. The goal is for the C929 (which could carry several hundred passengers at a time on journeys across Asia) to take flight after 2020, possibly in 2023.
(COMAC)'s ambitions will be on parade at China's premier airshow, which opens on November 11 in the southern city of Zhuhai, with a huge stand highlighting the C919 and a flying display by a prototype ARJ21.
The technological challenges for China to build its own passenger plane are formidable, with some comparing them to the difficulty of sending a mission to the moon. But the government considers developing a passenger airplane industry a national priority that would vault it into an elite club of just a handful of nations.
At the same time, Russia has drawn closer to its ally China in the face of Western sanctions over Ukraine, and following two years of discussions, the two countries signed an agreement in May to develop what Chinese state media call the "big plane."
(COMAC)'s strategic partner for the C929 is Russia's United Aircraft Corporation, created in 2006 when Moscow combined the assets of the country's largest state-owned airplane manufacturers, which have decades of experience. "Russia and China have been working together, figuring out things, now they're ready to start talking and getting ideas from suppliers," said Briand Greer, President of aerospace for Asia-Pacific for USA firm Honeywell (SGC), which already provides components and systems for both the C919 and ARJ21.
(COMAC) is floating ideas about the design of the plane ahead of making formal information requests to prepare a tendering process, industry sources said. "We have been talking about this new project, the 929," said another supplier to the C919, who declined to be named. "They have started with design of the plane. They are talking beyond 2020 (for the launch)," he said.
One possibility for the wide-body (which has two passenger aisles) is a plane capable of flying within Asia for journeys of up to around five hours, industry officials said, but not for lengthy intercontinental flights of 12 to 14 hours.
Such a concept would compete with the planned regional version of the Airbus A330, they said, which will enter service early next year. Planes in the A330 family hold 200 - 400 passengers. Boeing (TBC)'s wide-body offerings include its 767 and 787.
China has dreamed of building its own civil airplanes since the 1970s when Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong's wife and a member of the notorious Gang of Four, personally backed the attempt to develop the Y-10. Only three of the lumbering planes were ever built. But with its deep pockets, China can now tap foreign companies, some of them already suppliers to Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS).
The C919, which has a range of up to 5,555 km, is scheduled to make its first test flight at the end of next year, with deliveries planned for 2018, according to state media, although some doubt the company will meet the target. "It's a national agenda, it's going to happen," Greer said of the C919. "Timing - we'll see."
Its engines are made by (CFM) International, a venture between France's Safran group and USA industrial giant General Electric (GE). (COMAC) has 400 orders for the C919, most from domestic customers with the exception of (GE) Capital Aviation Services, a subsidiary of (GE). The ARJ21 regional jet claims 253 orders but the project is years behind schedule, with deliveries originally due in 2009.
(COMAC) plans to certify the ARJ with China's own civil aviation authority before year-end but approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is necessary before it can fly in most countries. The C919 has just started being assembled at a sprawling complex next to Shanghai's Pudong Airport, where workers in blue uniforms fit together pieces of the fuselage, industry officials and media reports say.
Elsewhere on the vast tract of land, (COMAC) planners have already reserved space for a yet-unbuilt factory to house the C929.
News Item A-2: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has received an order for 30 C919s from China Merchants Bank financial leasing arm. (COMAC) also received 23 orders for its regional ARJ21-700 airplane (comprising 20 from Comsys (Tianjin) International Leasing Company and three from Congo Transport Ministry.
(COMAC) has received a total of 278 orders for the ARJ21-700, mainly from domestic airlines and clients in developing countries. (COMAC) Chairman, Jin Zhuanglong said the first delivery of the ARJ21 will be to Chengdu Airlines (ueg). The airplane is due to enter service in April or May 2015, eight years later than originally scheduled and 13 years after development began.
Jin said the C919 would try to make an inaugural flight by the end of this year. First delivery will take place in 2018 or 2019 at the earliest. To date, the Chinese manufacturer has received 430 orders for the C919, mainly from Chinese airlines and Chinese leasing companies.
According to (COMAC), Chinese carriers will take delivery of 5,541 new airplanes in the next 20 years, including 3,687 narrow body airplanes valued $329.7 billion. “We hope the C919 can take up one-third share of China’s market in the next 10 or 20 years,” a (COMAC) insider noted.
December 2014: News Item A-1: (AVIC) and its subsidiaries form an important part of a growing joint effort to bring expanded air service. The footprint in Africa of the Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) of China has grown as its presence has expanded in 10 national markets, with its products used by flag carriers, government operators and others.
The latest big push was during the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, held in November in the southern port city of Zhuhai, Guangdong province. There, a deal for delivery of three Chinese-built ARJ21 planes was sealed by the Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the first African country to order the new plane.
ARJ21 is short for "Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century," a new, twin-engine turbofan for a short to medium range jet. The plane is built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (CCC), in which (AVIC) is a major shareholder.
Congo's Ministry of Transport signed a purchase agreement for three ARJ21-700 airplanes, including two regional jet models and one business airplane. "The ARJ21-700 is made in accordance with the international airworthiness standards, which is an airplane with wide market adaptability and excellent range coverage capability, and is very suitable for operations in Africa," according to a Congo government official quoted by the World Civil Aviation Resource Net, wcarn.com.
The ARJ21, a 90-seater, can cover the distance from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg and Addis Ababa. Some 250 orders have been placed for the airplane around the world. The ARJ21 is expected to be delivered to its first internal customer in China by the end of this year, and will begin to be delivered to foreign customers by the end of 2015.
"The total number of (AVIC) airplanes operating in the African continent is more than >400," said Xue Hang, Director of the Civil Aircraft Division of the (AVIC) International Aero-Development Corporation, a sales and service provider wholly owned by (AVIC).
Xue said (AVIC)'s customers can be found in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Egypt, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Sudan, and Senegal. Xue said the event was successful not only for (AVIC), but "the name of African airlines was displayed in this air show as well." The show included 700 exhibitors from 41 countries. Air Tanzania (TNZ) also has shown interest in the ARJ21.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May, Premier Li Keqiang proposed the implementation of a China - Africa regional aviation cooperation program, including support for Chinese enterprises to establish joint venture (JV) airlines in African nations and use Chinese-made airplanes to improve regional connections.
Li reiterated those points as important goals on December 4 during the visit to China of South African President Jacob Zuma. Aviation giant (AVIC) is expected to play an important role in realizing Li's vision.
More than 30 airplanes made by (AVIC) were presented at the Zhuhai air show, while 17 airplane purchase agreements were signed and several airplane delivery ceremonies were held.
Purchase agreements involved civil airplanes such as the Y12, the LE500 light training airplanes, 56-seater MA60, the ARJ21 and the C919, a family of 158 - 174 seat narrow-body airliners under development.
(AVIC) International Holding Corporation, the largest Chinese state-owned aerospace company, has a global network of 80 branches throughout China, the Asia Pacific, Europe, America, and Africa.
(AVIC) was started in 1951 as the Aviation Industry Administration Commission and has assets of about US$110 billion. It is not only an airplane and helicopter manufacturer, but also a major supplier to other leading airplane manufacturers such as Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS).
News Item A-2: The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has given a type certificate to the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) ARJ21 regional jet, likely clearing the way for the long-delayed airplane to enter service in 2015.
(GE) Aviation (GEC), whose (CF34-10A) engines will power the ARJ21-700 model that has been certified, has issued a statement from Beijing confirming the type certification. The ARJ21 can seat 78 - 90 passengers depending on seating configuration.
Launch customer Chengdu Airlines (UEG), a (COMAC) subsidiary, is expected to put the airplane into service in April or May 2015, which would be eight years later than the originally scheduled service entry (EIS) and 13 years after the program was launched.
(COMAC) has received a total of 278 orders for the ARJ21-700, mostly from Chinese airlines. (COMAC) launched the ARJ21 program in 2002 and the ARJ21 flew its first flight in 2008. “This certification is a monumental achievement for (COMAC),” (GE) Aviation President & (CEO), David Joyce said.
(GEC) said the “(CF34-10A) is ideally suited to the design requirement of the ARJ21 airplane, and meets the demanding conditions of China’s diverse environment, specifically the hot temperature and high altitude conditions experienced on many routes in Western China.”
News Item A-3: The mid fuselage of the China's self-developed AG600 airplane rolled off the production line in (AVIC) Xian Aircraft Industry Company Ltd on December 29, 2014, marking a key step toward its final assembly in 2015, the "China News" reported. The AG600, once completed, is set to become the largest amphibious airplane in the world.
The AG600 airplane is one of three large-scale civil airplane programs approved by China's State Council, and also the first one launched after the restructuring of (AVIC). The AG 600 is primarily used for firefighting over vast areas and over-water Search & Rescue (SAR).
In the concept of "amphibious, multipurpose and various series," the newly-developed airplane is designed to employ a single hull, single wing layout on the cantilever and retractable tricycle landing gear, with an option of 4 (WJ6) engines. The airplane, with a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tonnes and a maximum range of more than >5,000 kms, can absorb 12 tonnes of water within 20 seconds, which is ideal for performing multiple operations including forest fire fighting, over-water Search & Rescue, marine environment monitoring, resource exploration, passenger and freight transportation and other operating tasks.
Notably, it is capable of on-water take off and landing and can also land directly at an airport. So it will greatly improve the speed of response to an emergency situation. The multipurpose airplane can rescue a maximum of 50 people on a single trip.
Since it began developing the airplane five years ago, (AVIC) won two firm orders on AG600 airplanes. According to (AVIC), the first AG600 prototype expects to take its maiden flight at the end of 2015.
January 2015: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has received an order for 20 C919s from Huaxia Financial Leasing Company.
To date, (CCC) has received 450 orders for the C919, mainly from Chinese airlines and Chinese leasing companies.
(CCC) had planned its inaugural flight for the end of last year, but was postponed for undisclosed reasons. First delivery is scheduled for 2018 or 2019.
Huaxia Financial Leasing Company was established in April 2013 with a registered capital of CNY3 billion/$487 million, in which Huaxia Bank holds an 82% stake with a CNY 2.46 billion investment and Kunming Industrial Development & Investment Company holds the remaining 18% with a CNY540 million investment.
February 2015: News Item A-1: The aft section of the first C919 airairplane's rear fuselage, manufactured by Aerospace Haiying Zhenjiang Special Materials Limited Company, was officially delivered to Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) on February 11, which lays a solid foundation for mating the airliner's fuselage sections.
The horizontal stabilizer and auxiliary power unit (APU) will be installed in this section.
The section employs the largest proportion of composite materials, with 37 composite material components, which help reduce the structure weight of the airplane and improve its economic efficiency.
Based on related airworthiness regulations and quality requirements, Shanghai Aircraft Airworthiness Certification Center of the (CAAC) conducted a comprehensive review of the aft section of the first C919's rear fuselage and issued an airworthiness approval tag for it.
Later, (AVIC) Shenyang Commercial Aircraft Corporation Limited (SACC) officially delivered the vertical tail section of the first C919 airplane to the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) on Febriary 13.
The vertical fin comprises a vertical stabilizer and a rudder. Most of the components are made of composite materials that make the airplane lighter and more fuel efficient, improving the performance and safety of the airplane and reducing maintenance costs.
The vertical tail has been transported to the Pudong base of the (COMAC) Manufacturing and Final Assembly Center.
News Item A-2: State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has completed the basic assembly of its medium-range C919 large passenger airplane and is expected to launch test flights this year, the official "Xinhua" news agency reported on February 23 2015.
It said (COMAC) (CCC), which is touting the C919 as China’s answer to passenger planes from the Boeing Company (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) Group, had secured 450 orders from 18 customers.
China is keen to develop a successful commercial airplane to prove it can match the USA and Europe. But it has been held back by inexperience, a shortage of local aerospace design and engineering talent, as well as a lack of home-grown companies with the technology to help drive the project.
Airbus (EDS) has forecast China’s domestic aviation market to become the world’s biggest in the next decade.
March 2015: The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has placed a firm order for 30 Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) ARJ21-700 regional airplanes.
(CCC) has received 308 orders for the ARJ21-700, mainly from domestic airlines, financial leasing companies and clients in developing countries.
(CCC) Chairman, Jin Zhuanglong previously said the first ARJ21 delivery will be to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) in 2018 or 2019 at the earliest. The much-delayed airplane is due to enter service in April or May 2015, eight years later than originally scheduled and 13 years after development began.
The ARJ21 received a type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) at the end of 2014.
(ICBC), launched in November 2007, has a registered capital of CNY11 billion/$1.78 billion owns and manages 337 airplanes, including 112 airplanes already in operation, 201 vessels of various types and more than >28,000 big equipment items.
April 2015: The fifth (COMAC) (CCC) ARJ21-700 (105) completed a special flight successfully on April 2, carrying its first customer passengers from the government, China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALG), SPDB Financial Leasing, Shanghai Airport Authority and media, an important step toward the ARJ21's entry into service (EIS). SEE PHOTOS - - "CCC-2015-03 - ARJ-700-A/B/C/D/E."
The special flight took off from and landed at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) lasting nearly an hour.
During the flights, passengers were the first to experience the wide comfort of the regional jet. These early passengers were tasked to experience the whole flight, including boarding, air conditioning, lighting, in-flight entertainment (IFE), food service, toilets and water waste systems.
The special flight was carried out with the fifth ARJ21-700, one of the first two types to be delivered to launch customer Chengdu Airlines (UEG) this year.
(COMAC) (CCC) began a half-year route-proving campaign using its sixth ARJ21-700 regional jet from March 16, to simulate airline operations to prove that the home-made regional jet is ready for airline operations. It has conducted test flights among Shanghai, Tianjin, Nantong, and Kunshan.
May 2015: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) will reportedly delay the maiden flight of 150-seat trunk liner C919 to 2016, an industry insider confirmed.
The the first Chinese-produced narrow body airplane was originally scheduled to operate its maiden flight in 2014, which was reportedly delayed to this year. “Now it has to be delayed to 2016 and we are not sure whether it will be delayed to 2017 again or even later,” the insider noted.
The first delivery of the C919 will be delayed to 2018 or 2019 at the earliest. Its first delivery was originally scheduled for 2016.
According to the insider, it will take at least two or three years for the C919 to obtain an airworthiness certificate after the maiden flight.
To date, the Chinese manufacturer has received 450 orders for the C919, mainly from Chinese airlines and Chinese leasing companies.
July 2015: News Item A-1: Chinese state-owned aircraft maker, (COMAC) (CCC) said its C919 commercial jet would not make its maiden flight this year, confirming a "Reuters" report that had said the program was delayed because assembly was taking longer than expected.
(CCC) wants the narrow body C919, which will be China's only home-grown commercial jet, to rival the Airbus (EDS) A320 and the 737 jets from Boeing (TBC).
The jet was originally scheduled to fly by the end of 2015, but a Shanghai-based (COMAC) spokesman said the first aircraft would now roll off the assembly line at the end of the year. The timing of the maiden flight will be announced after that, he added.
The spokesman did not give a reason for the delay but people familiar with the matter had told "Reuters" in May there were delays in the final assembly process.
The sources had also said the maiden flight had been postponed to the first half of 2016, with deliveries scheduled for 2018 slipping to as late as 2020.
Further delays will make it harder for the plane to make an impact beyond its home market, industry analysts said.
News Item A-2: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has taken delivery of the first wing-body fairing section that will be installed on its C919 prototype (serial number 101).
(COMAC) said the development of the fairing part, manufactured by Harbin Aircraft Industry (Group) Company (HAIG), a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in 2012. It admitted however, that due to the complexity of the part's manufacturing process, various issues were encountered in the processing of the composite parts, as well as in work coordination.
Intended to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800 airplane, the C919, which will be China's first home-grown large passenger aircraft, and can accommodate up to 160 passengers.
(COMAC) started final assembly of its first C919 test aircraft in September 2014. Final assembly of the airframe has been largely completed and systems are now being progressively installed on the prototype.
The C919 was originally scheduled to fly by the end of 2015, but a Shanghai-based, (COMAC) spokesman said early this month that the first C919 aircraft would now roll off the assembly line at the end of the year.
The C919 is expected to make its maiden flight by the end of this year, with deliveries scheduled for 2018, according to the source.
The total number of commitments for the C919 stood at 507, with the latest from Ping An Leasing for 50 C919s inked at the Paris air show in June.
News Item A-3: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) and (CFM) International celebrated delivery of the first (LEAP-1C) engine for C919 prototype, marking a significant step toward its final assembly and maiden flight.
As China's first self-developed large passenger aircraft, the 150-seat C919 will be powered by two identical engines. After the first delivery on July 22, the second (Leap-1C) engine is expected to be handed over to the (COMAC) in August 2015.
Currently, the first C919 prototype aircraft is under final assembly in Shanghai. The body docking has been completed and the mobile systems are now being progressively installed.
The maiden flight had been postponed to the first half of 2016, with deliveries scheduled for 2018 slipping to as late as 2020.
According to an industry insider, China is now developing home-made engine for C919s. Since it will take more time to develop engines than aircraft, it's estimated that first home-grown engine won't be installed on C919s until 2020.
News Item A-4: An ARJ21-700 regional jet (serial number 105) conducted a demonstration flight in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province on July 17, with a 30-minute flight at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (XIY) after flying from Shandong Dongyin.
The ARJ21, short for Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century, is a type of regional airliner designed and manufactured by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC). The ARJ21-700 was officially certified by the Civil Aviation Administration of China at the end of last year.
Over twenty representatives were invited on Friday to experience the demonstration flight and give feedbacks so as to help improve the overall performance of the jet.
(COMAC) began the half-year route-proving campaign on March 16, using its sixth ARJ21-700 regional jet. The test flights are being routed based at Nantong Xingdong Airport and Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU), around Beijing, Tianjin, Wuhan, Nanjing, Fuzhou, Guiyang, and Changsha. Currently, the ARJ-21 aircraft has completed demonstration flights in Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhoushan, Shijiazhuang, and Xi'an.
August 2015: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) is working toward an internal target to deliver its first ARJ21-700 regional jet to the launch customer Chengdu Airlines (UEG) on November 28, 2015, China National Radio reported.
ARJ21, short for Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century, is equipped with 78 seats in a two-class configuration (including eight first class seats) and 90Y seats in a full economy (Y) class configuration. Its economic life is designed to be 60,000 flying hours or 20 calendar years.
The Chinese jet maker is scheduled to deliver five regional jets to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) this year, which will then be put into commercial service next February, according to the media report.
(COMAC) began the half-year route-proving campaign on March 16, using its ARJ21-700 regional jets. The first phase of route proving trails are being routed based at Nantong Xingdong Airport and Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU), around Beijing, Tianjin, Wuhan, Nanjing, Fuzhou, Guiyang, and Changsha. The Chinese airframer started the second phase route-proving trails in late July, which mainly based at Chengdu Airport, around Wuhan, Wenzhou, Fuzhou, and Nanjing. Recently, (COMAC) completed all route-proving trails in advance of schedule.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer is still working on improvements to the ARJ21, despite receiving type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) last December. Zhao Keliang, Vice Chief Designer of the program, said that while the issues do not relate to the safety of the aircraft, they could affect the operational efficiency of the jet.
Examples include changes that need to be made to improve how the aircraft's anti-icing system functions in the case of a single-engine operation, as well as to its warning system to help enhance pilots' (FC) operational awareness and help them better anticipate possible flying situations, Zhao added.
Furthermore, requests from Chengdu Airlines (UEG) are also taken into account, such as smoothing out sharp edges in the interior of the aircraft, Zhao said.
Chengdu Airlines (UEG), a subsidiary of (COMAC) and an all-Airbus operator, will initially take delivery of five of 30 ARJ21-700s it has on order. Those five regional jets are expected to operate domestic routes from Chengdu to Shanghai Pudong, Nanjing, Kunming, Xi'an, Guiyang, Beijing, and Wuhan.
To date, (COMAC) has received a total of 315 orders for the type from 19 customers at home and abroad.
September 2015: News Item A-1: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) said China's first regional commercial jet, the ARJ21-700, will enter service in February next year. Entry into service (EIS) will follow two months of pilot (FC) training and bedding-in trials.
The long-delayed delivery of the first operational ARJ21s has seen launch customer Chengdu Airlines (UEG) defer delivery of its first two aircraft from the original date of 2006, to November this year (eight years later than scheduled).
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) granted a commercial type certificate approval to the ARJ21 at the end of December 2014, but the program has seen subsequent developmental delays, that included final cabin interior design refinements, some aspects of anti-icing operation, and cockpit event awareness plus instrumentation updates.
The design has undergone several major revisions since inception (from the local production of the original General Electric (GE) (CF34) power plants to newly designed wings and landing gear upgrades retrofitted to withstand extreme condition operations.
Although the (CAAC) has not yet granted full production type approval, (COMAC) expects it will be granted toward the end of the year, enabling the manufacturer to begin supplying aircraft for its near 250-strong order book.
On top of the 30-aircraft order placed by (COMAC) subsidiary Chengdu Airlines (UEG), the majority of the 200-plus outstanding orders for the aircraft will go to Chinese or Asian carriers, including Xiamen Airlines (XIA), Lao Airlines (LAO), and at least two China-based leasing companies.
Chengdu Airlines (UEG) currently operates an all-Airbus A320 fleet of 19 aircraft, but likely plans to use the 90-seat ARJ21s for short regional schedules to tier-two destinations such as from Chengdu to Shanghai and Qingdao.
News Item A-2: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) has won orders for 10 150-seat C919s and 10 ARJ21 regional aircraft from Thailand’s City Airways & Industrial and the Commercial Bank of China Financial Leasing Company (ICBC).
According to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed at the Beijing Air Show, (ICBC) will purchase the first three of each type, and then lease them to Thailand City Airways. The three companies will negotiate further on how to order and lease the other seven aircraft.
To date, (COMAC) has received 517 orders for the C919, mainly from Chinese carriers and leasing companies. (COMAC) has received 295 orders for the ARJ21-700, mainly from domestic airlines and clients in developing countries. The first delivery of the ARJ21 will be to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) in February 2016.
Launched in September 2012, Thailand City Airways was taken over by Lawson Marsh, which made it adopt the leisure carrier business model and open many international routes to the Chinese mainland cities from Bangkok. It plans to expand its fleet in the next three years and will launch an initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2017.
News Item A-3: During a three day official visit by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping to the USA Pacific Northwest, he toured Boeing's 787, 777 and 747-8 final assembly lines in Everett, - -
see photo - "CCC-2015-09 - Chinese President Boeing Visit.jpg."
During his visit, President Xi Jinping stated that Boeing has entered into an agreement with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) to open a joint venture (JV) facility in China for “interiors completion, paint and delivery of Boeing 737 airplanes for Chinese customers.” The airframes will still be built in Washington state before being flown to China for the completion work.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & (CEO), Ray Conner said, “Boeing is expanding our longstanding relationship with Chinese industry to meet vital goals for our company: We are bringing the Boeing 737 closer to our Chinese customers, supporting rising 737 production rates and enhancing our access to China’s dynamic and fast-growing aviation market. The 737 will be a cornerstone of the Chinese fleet for years to come, and we look forward to delivering 737s to Chinese customers in China.”
(COMAC) Vice General Manager & C919 Chief Designer, Wu Guanghui added, “The new collaboration between Boeing and (COMAC) will help advance the Chinese commercial transportation market in a better and faster way, and will benefit the development of supporting Chinese industries related to airplane completion as well as the global growth of China’s civil aviation business.”
Ray Conner noted that “China is our largest international market, accounting for about 1 in 4 of our deliveries so far this year. Going forward, China will be the largest commercial aviation market in the world.”
October 2015: News Item A-1: "China-Made ARJ21-700 Regional Jet Set for Delivery, But No USA Certification" by Siva Govindasamy, & Matthew Miller, "Reuters" October 21, 2015.
The (COMAC) (CCC) ARJ21 regional jet, which can seat up to 90 passengers, received the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) type certification last December and will be delivered to launch customer Chengdu Airlines (UEG) shortly, two people familiar with the plane's program told "Reuters."
The plane will fly without USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, despite a five-year effort to have the (FAA) endorse (CAAC)'s certification procedures, the people said.
An (FAA) type certificate would have boosted the reputation of the airplane's developer, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and cleared the way for the plane to be sold and operated globally (though expectations for foreign sales had been low). Without it, the aircraft can operate only in China and some Asian, African, and South American countries that recognize the (CAAC)'s certificate.
Chengdu Airlines (UEG), a low-cost carrier (lcc), is expected to fly the plane on commercial domestic operations in the first quarter of 2016. (COMAC) has received nearly 350 orders for the ARJ21, mainly from Chinese airlines and leasing firms.
Since 2010, the (FAA) has undertaken a shadow certification process to assess the (CAAC)'s ability to conduct a technical assessment of aircraft. But tensions arose between the two regulators last year over various technical and bureaucratic issues, before the process ended in early 2015, those familiar with the program said.
People close to (COMAC) believe the (FAA) also was dragging its feet in part because of bilateral political and economic considerations. "While the (CAAC) wanted to learn from the (FAA), they felt the Americans were too rigid and unnecessarily delaying things. And the longer the delay, the greater the embarrassment to the Chinese," said one of those individuals.
However, a (CAAC) official responsible for certification and people close to the (FAA) stressed that the two regulators were still working to resolve outstanding issues as a "top priority."
In an emailed response to "Reuters" for this article, the (FAA) said the ARJ21 was never intended to be certificated by the (FAA) under the "shadow" evaluation process, and (COMAC) planned a derivative model of the plane to comply with (FAA) standards.
"The (FAA) enjoys a good working relationship with the (CAAC) and we continue to work together to develop a path to work towards certification of the derivative model of the ARJ21 and, possibly, the C919," the (FAA) said, referring to the C919 narrow-body jet, China is developing to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 models.
Also, the (FAA) said it could certify an airplane, after it enters service, if it can be shown to comply with all relevant airworthiness and manufacturing standards.
* Aviation Cooperation:
Putting the ARJ21 into service without (FAA) certification would be a setback to USA and China aviation cooperation, arguably one of the outstanding achievements, since the two governments re-established diplomatic relations in 1979.
Chinese airlines have bought hundreds of Boeing (TBC) jets as the country's aviation sector opened up and boomed, and Boeing (TBC) plans to open a completions and delivery center in China for its 737 airplane, its first plant outside the USA.
USA aerospace firms have also invested heavily in China, and companies such as General Electric (GE), Rockwell Collins, Honeywell (SGC), and United Technologies (PRW) are suppliers for the ARJ21 and C919 jet.
"It could be seen as a loss of face for the Chinese, given they deem (FAA) certification, a key rite of passage for what will be the first domestically built jet to enter commercial service," said Greg Waldron, Asia Managing Editor at Flightglobal, an industry news and data service.
(COMAC) could eventually ask the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to certify the ARJ21, once it has been delivered, and ask it to help with the C919 as well, people familiar with the program said.
"Given the effort and prestige, China is pouring into the C919, obtaining (FAA) or (EASA) certification is a definite requirement both for the image of the program, and the ambition to garner foreign sales," said Waldron.
"We don't know if and when the Chinese authority will apply to us for a certification," an (EASA) spokesman said.
* "Learning Experience:"
China has been working for 40 years to produce and deliver a homegrown commercial airliner.
It first developed the Y-10, a four-engined jet, in the 1970s, but never delivered it to customers. It has exported some MA-60 turboprop planes, a civil version of the license-produced Soviet-designed Antonov AN-24 military transport.
(COMAC) plans to eventually upgrade the ARJ21, so it's closer in performance to regional jets made by Embraer (EMB), Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ), and Bombardier (BMB).
The current version of the ARJ21 and the program itself, is a "learning experience," said Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst at the Teal Group. "Any airline forced to operate this jet, will be at a severe competitive disadvantage against any airline with a modern aircraft."
That means China's hopes may rest on the C919.
(COMAC) aims to complete its flight test and certification program in less than half the time it took with the ARJ21, say those familiar with the company's plans. "It has engaged foreign suppliers experienced in global aircraft programs with Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC) much earlier, and they're far more involved in the C919," said one of those familiar with the program.
"(FAA) or (EASA) certification would legitimize the program and create interesting new opportunities for China's aerospace sector. Such certification would be a watershed development," added Waldron at Flightglobal.
News Item A-2: "(AVIC) Aircraft Swings to 122 Million Yuan Loss in First Three Quarters" by Lena Ge, WCARN.com, October 27, 2015.
(AVIC) Aircraft Company Ltd said it lost -122 million yuan in the first three quarters ended September 30, compared with a net profit of +46.53 million yuan in the same period last year.
The company said the net profit loss was mainly contributed to the decreasing delivery of aviation products compared with the same period last year.
(AVIC) Aircraft registered a +20.5% increase in operating revenue to 15.44 billion yuan from January to September 2015, according to the company's financial report. Basic earnings per share decreased -361.7% to 0.046 yuan.
The state-run Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is expanding its market in Africa through establishing an aviation training center, two regional marketing offices, two maintenance and support centers and three warehouses for spare parts on the continent, Oscar Nkala, an expert in African military development, wrote in a piece for "Defense News" on October 10.
Zhang Guangjian, General Manager of (AVIC) subsidiary, International Aero Development Corp (IADC), said at Aviation Expo China 2015 in Beijing last month that the civilian aviation training center will be in South Africa, while the two maintenance and product support offices will be in Tanzania and the Republic of Congo. The three warehouses will be in Kenya, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Congo.
While (IADC) was set up primarily to promote China's civilian aircraft internationally, the maintenance and support centers it runs will also offer service for Chinese-made military aircraft, including fighters, trainers, helicopters and drones in the air forces of African nations. "We plan to use these installations to help our civil aircraft industry expand its presence in Africa's central and northwestern regions," Zhang said. "Compared with Western counterparts, our aircraft have proven more suitable for operations in Africa, because they are more adaptable to tough use and poor infrastructure." Zhang also said Chinese civilian and military aircraft are priced more competitively than American and European aircraft.
November 2015: News Item A-1: "China’s (COMAC) Rolls Out the C919" by (ATW) Bradley Perrett and Katie Cantle, November 2, 2015.
China’s first 158-seat Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919 prototype aircraft rolled off (COMAC)’s final assembly plant near Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
See attached photos - - "CCC-2015-11 - C919 Rollout-A.jpg."
(COMAC) is aiming to fly the first C919 flight-test aircraft next year, but is avoiding any commitment on a first-delivery date.
C919 development began in 2008 with the first flight planned for 2016. (COMAC) had said in May 2014 that first delivery would be in 2018, but has since declined to update that outlook; the subject was not mentioned at the roll-out ceremony. Executives close to the program say 2019 would be more likely and 2020 possible, but no one will be reasonably sure until well into flight testing.
(COMAC) Chairman, Jin Zhuanglong said the C919 will now undergo various tests in preparation for an inaugural flight in 2016, which will be followed by certification and delivery to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) by 2020. The original schedule had the aircraft conducting its first flight in 2014.
(COMAC) has set targets of taking a third of the Chinese narrow body market and a fifth of the global market by 2035. The manufacturer has committed to producing between 20 and 50 C919s annually and to increasing production capability to 150 C919s and 50 ARJ21 regional aircraft annually by 2020.
(COMAC) received 517 orders from nine carriers and 12 aircraft leasing companies, the large majority being Chinese.
(COMAC) Deputy Director Marketing, Dang Weihong noted Ryanair (RYR) and British Airways (BAB) have begun talks about potential orders.
* C919 Design
(COMAC) has done reasonably well in controlling the design weight of the C919, says an industry source close to the program. The type is overweight by more than >100 kg/> 220 lb but less than <1,000 kg, says that source. Offsetting savings in structural weight have been identified.
Structure supplier (AVIC) obviously met difficulty in building the first C919. Irregularities in panel fit and riveting are visible on the aircraft, which is not particularly surprising for a prototype. Alignments that (COMAC) will need (AVIC) to improve are especially noticeable in areas of double curvature, which generally presents a greater challenge for fabrication than single curvature.
More remarkably, thick strips that look like reinforcing plates (doublers) are fastened to the underside of the wing roots with heavy, protruding rivets. Such reinforcement, normally seen on old or damaged aircraft, means that the strength of the original structure is not trusted. Since the C919 prototype has a doubler on each side, the reason for this fix seems not to have been some one-off accident in fabrication of a part.
Earlier this year, progress in fitting out the prototype seemed slow, according to people who saw it then. With a roll-out due in 2015, industry officials wondered whether (COMAC) would repeat Boeing’s performance of July 2007. The USA company then presented the first 787 prototype to an unsuspecting world, when the airplane was not remotely ready for flight. It finally took to the air in December 2009.
* C919 assembly
As for the C919, sources close to the program were saying by this September that assembly was now going fairly well. There must have been slippages, but (COMAC) obviously preferred to reschedule rather than exaggerate its progress by presenting what merely looked like a finished aircraft.
Moreover, whatever the current condition of the first C919, it is unlikely to take to the air just for the sake of showing that it can fly. To the considerable satisfaction of program managers, Jin told them in 2013 that there was little point in test flying a test aircraft that did not closely represent the production standard.
Three main objectives have always driven the C919 program. One is a belief, common in Asia and especially China, that a government can advance the economy by choosing and backing supposedly strategic industries.
A second, also a Chinese preoccupation, is replacing imports. Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Chief, Li Jiaxiang emphasized that point at the roll-out ceremony, noting that, among of 2,625 civil transport aircraft in China, only 23, all (AVIC) MA60 and MA600 turboprops, had been built in China. And this for a country with the world’s second-largest air transportation market, he added.
“The air transportation industry of China cannot rely completely on imports,” Li said. “A great nation must have its own large commercial aircraft.”
A third factor is the domestic propaganda value of making aircraft, which was much in evidence in heavy media coverage of the roll-out ceremony, notably live broadcasting by China Central Television.
News Item A-2: "China's First Home-Made ARJ21-700 Delivered to Chengdu Airlines (UEG) on November 29, 2015" by Louis Ye, WCARN.com.
The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) (CCC) delivered its ARJ21-700, the country's first indigenously designed regional jet with a registration number of (B-3321), to Chengdu Airlines (UEG), marking an end to the 12-year research and development of the ARJ21 Program and also bringing the commercial flight of homegrown aircraft into a new era.
The ARJ21-700 jetliner flew from Shanghai and arrived at the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 1:15 pm Beijing Time. (CCC) and (UEG), the launch customer of the jet, held a grand ceremony at the airport to celebrate the settlement of China's first self-developed regional jet in Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern Sichuan Province.
"The ARJ21-700 helped China accumulate experience in the research and development of commercial aircraft and also build up its capabilities in the airworthiness certification of commercial aircraft," said Luo Ronghuai, the General Director of the ARJ21 Program.
"The aircraft will be officially put into commercial service in the first quarter next year and will fly on routes from Chengdu to seven popular domestic destinations, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen."
"The ARJ21-700 delivered today features an all-economy (Y) cabin configuration and seats up to 90Y passengers."
COMAC (CCC)'s data shows it has so far received more than >300 orders for the ARJ21-700, including three for the Republic of Congo.
March 2016: "Beijing Moves Forward on Airliner Engine Production Capability" by (ATW) Katie Cantle, March 4, 2016.
Beijing is moving ahead with plans to establish a capability to design and build engines to power Chinese-built airliners.
The (COMAC) (CCC) C919 is powered by (CFM) International (LEAP-1C) engines, while the (AVIC) ARJ21 is powered by (GE) (CF34-10A)s.
China is now creating the China Aviation Engine Group in an effort to power its own aircraft. Beijing plans to consolidate all the engine production subsidiaries of (AVIC) into this aviation engine group, which will be operated independently from (AVIC).
Cao Jianguo, the former General Manager of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation will be chairman of the new company, and Li Fangyong, Deputy General Manager at (AVIC), will be General Manager.
(AVIC)’s aircraft engine subsidiaries include (AVIC) Aero-Engine Control, (AVIC) Aviation Engine Corporation, Sichuan Chengfa Aero Science & Technology, and Shenyang Engine Design Research.
October 2016: News Item A-1: "China Goes All Out to Become "Global Aviation Power" by Sputnik, October 10, 2016.
Chinese leadership views investing in domestic aviation, both civilian and military, as one of the country's top priorities in hopes that this will help Beijing improve its manufacturing industry, boost innovation and improve national defense, "Xinhua" reported.
Geng Ruguang, Executive VP of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), described aviation industry as the "crown jewel" of manufacturing, saying that China has the potential "to become a global aviation power."
(AVIC) is the country's leading aerospace and defense company behind some of China's biggest projects, including the (AVIC) TA-600, the (COMAC) (CCC) C919 and the Xian Y-20.
The (AVIC) TA-600, also known as AG-600, is said to be the largest amphibious aircraft in the world. It is expected to make its maiden flight later this year. The flying boat, manufactured by (AVIC), is designed to be used to fight forest fires and carry out rescue missions at sea.
Last year, China unveiled the (Comac) (CCC) C919, a jet airliner intended to compete with passenger planes produced by Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC). The aircraft will perform its 1st flight next year and will then carry out test flights for an additional 3 years, the Chinese news agency said. (CCC) was established by several companies, including (AVIC). The Xian Y-20 large military transport aircraft has been in service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) since July 6, 2016. Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation is (AVIC)'s subsidiary.
China apparently considers large aircraft as a necessary step to increase its international standing. Unsurprisingly, Geng Ruguang referred to them as an element of "a great power."
"It is harvest time for China's aviation industry to embrace multiple symbolic major models after years of constant efforts. It represents the general upgrading of its national and scientific strength," he said.
Beijing's recent efforts have also been focused on producing home-grown engines.
On August 28, the country established the Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) tasked with creating what the Chinese lovingly call a "heart" for its domestic aircraft. (AECC) is expected to showcase some of the engines at the upcoming China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, also known as "Airshow China." It will be held on November 1 to 6 in Zhuhai, Guangdong.
However, some doubt that China will be able to quickly close the technological gap. "Chinese engineers are capable of building military aircraft engines but have yet to master the skills to develop and produce the large, powerful turbofan engines used in commercial airliners. For years, China has struggled to produce advanced aircraft engines that are capable of matching up to their foreign counterparts, despite state funding," the website "Defence Aviation" asserted.
News Item A-2: Boeing (TBC) and (COMAC) (CCC) have signed an agreement to open a Boeing 737 completion facility in the coastal city of Zhoushan. The deal signed October 28 follows an agreement between the 2 companies inked in September last year to open a center to install interiors, paint liveries and deliver 737 airplanes to Chinese customers. The facility is Boeing's 1st 737 completion plant
outside the USA and comes as the Boeing and its European rival Airbus (EDS) fiercely compete for plane orders in China. Airbus (EDS) already has 2 plants in China.
News Item A-3: Liebherr (LAMC) Aviation (Changsha), the joint venture between the Chinese company (LAMC) ((AVIC) Landing Gear Advanced Manufacturing Corporation) and German-based Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH, delivered the 1st ARJ21 main landing gear assembled in China to aircraft manufacturer (COMAC) (CCC).
November 2016: News Item A-1: "China, Russia Launching (JV) to Design Wide Body Aircraft" by (ATW) Katie Cantle, November 3, 2016.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) is expected to launch a joint venture (JV) with Russia to design and develop wide body aircraft at the end of this year.
(CCC) signed an agreement with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) (SSJ) in June. According to the agreement, both companies will design, manufacture, market and provide after-sale support for new aircraft. COMAC (CCC) is showing a model of the 281-seat wide body aircraft with a range of 120,000 km at Airshow China, November 1 - 6 in Zhuhai, China. (CCC) noted the aircraft also has 350-seat extended version with air range of 9,000 to 10,000 km, and a 250-seat shortened version with air range of 13,000 to 14,000 km.
The Chinese airframer (CCC) revealed the 1st flight is expected in 2023, and 1st delivery in 2026 at the earliest; this is similar to (CCC)’s C919, which started production in 2008 and may possibly have its 1st flight in 2017.
(CCC) noted that the new aircraft would be open for bid to global aviation suppliers. According to industry analysts, the new wide body aircraft is set to compete against the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330.
News Item A-2: "Engines on (COMAC) C919 Run for the First Time" by Lena Ge, China Aviation Daily, November 14, 2016.
State-owned manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC), Ltd (COMAC) has run the engines installed on the C919 flight test aircraft for the 1st time. The (CFM) (Leap 1C) engines powered up for the 1st time on the C919 prototype (serial number 10001) on November 9, marking a long-awaited milestone on the road to its maiden flight.
(CFM) International, the largest jet engine manufacturer worldwide as well as the exclusive engine supplier for the home-made aircraft C919, delivered the 1st C919 engines last July but not run for the initial time until November 9 of this year.
The home-made aircraft is scheduled to make its 1st flight at the end of this year or early 2017. Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines (CEA) will become the 1st customer to take delivery of the C919, the Chinese airframer said during this year's Zhuhai airshow.
So far, (COMAC) has received 570 orders for the C919 from 23 customers, including Air China (BEJ) and China Southern Airlines (GUN).
Besides, (CFM) announced at Zhuhai Airshow it plans to begin offering (LEAP-1C) line maintenance training at the Aero Engine Maintenance and Training Center (AEMTC) in Guanghan City of Sichuan Province.
News Item A-3: "(GE) and (COMAC) Sign Digital Collaboration (MOU)" by
China Aviation Daily, November 15, 2016.
(GE) Aviation (GEC) and (COMAC) announced that they signed an (MOU) on digital collaboration. This agreement brings the cooperation between (COMAC) and (GEC) to a new level from the aircraft engines and systems to now broadening their relationship to the use data and analytics to bring greater operational efficiency to their operations.
Wu Guanghui, VP of (COMAC) (CCC) and Weiming Xiang, President of GE Aviation Greater China signed the (MOU), witness by President He Dongfeng of (COMAC) (CCC) and Chaker Chahrour, VP & General Manager Global Sales & Marketing (GE) Aviation.
Under the agreement, (COMAC) (CCC) and (GEC) plan to jointly explore and collaborate on digital solutions and applications on customer & product support monitoring & diagnostics, Intelligent Aircraft and Brilliant Manufacturing. The 2 companies will set up a joint team to launch pilot projects based on an earlier outcome based workshop and exchanges to verify the technical trends for further collaboration.
"This agreement with (COMAC) (CCC) will enable our teams of software architects and aviation domain experts to jointly develop digital solutions at (GE)'s Shanghai digital collaboration center," said Jim Daily, VP & Chief Digital Officer for (GE) Aviation. "The partnership between (COMAC) and (GE) will result in digital solutions that will transform (COMAC)'s operations all the way from brilliant manufacturing to advanced flight analytics to comprehensive fleet operations support."
Through the partnership, data scientists, software developers and architects from (GE) and (COMAC) plan to work together to refine some of the ten billion data points produced by the aviation sector annually into solutions that can achieve greater fleet intelligence and operational insights.
In the past year, (GE) has opened collaboration centers in Shanghai, Dubai, Austin and Paris, connecting data, developers and Predix, the world's 1st and only cloud-based operating system built exclusively for industry. Predix is powering innovative Industrial Internet apps that turn operational data into insight for better and faster decision making.
Today, nearly 100 airlines covering >10,000 aircraft are (GE) Aviation Digital Solutions' customers for such services as flight and fuel analytics, navigation services, airline operations management, plus planning and recovery.
(GE) is the world's Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. (GE) is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "(GE) Store," where each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, (GE) delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry.
December 2016: News Item A-1: Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) expects revenue generated from civil aircraft sales to grow as much as +45% through 2035 from the existing +20%.
The total share of (UAC) civil aircraft at the global market should reach 4.5% through 2025, the company said in its 2035 strategy plan.
(UAC) plans to reach net-profit breakeven in 2025; during 2025 - 2035 it aims to decrease its dependence on government investments. (UAC) intends to maximize sales of civil regional, narrow- and wide body aircraft internationally.
The company estimates the total effect from floating-capital-management optimization, investment optimization and noncore assets sales at 700 billion rubles/$11.4 billion through 2035.
(UAC) was created in 2006, uniting the assets of Sukhoi (SSJ); Ilyushin; Tupolev; Yakovlev; Irkut Corporation (IKT); and others. The company manufactures the Sukhoi (SSJ) Superjet 100 and is developing the Irkut MC-21. (UAC) also is designing a new wide body aircraft with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC).
News Item A-2: The (CFM) International (LEAP-1C) engine, which will power the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CCC) (COMAC) C919, has gained type certification from both the (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The dual certification comes ahead of the C919’s 1st flight, which is expected to occur in 2017. The (LEAP-1C) is the sole-source Western engine for the aircraft. There is also supposed to be a domestically produced engine option for the narrow body aircraft, but the (LEAP-1C) is expected to power the flight test aircraft and at least the initial batch of C919s delivered to airlines.
(CFM) is a joint venture (JV) between (GE) Aviation (GEC) and Safran.
“The (LEAP-1C) is the only model for which (CFM) provides a totally integrated propulsion system that includes the engine, nacelle and thrust reverser,” (CFM) Executive VP Francois Bastin said, adding that “as a result, the (LEAP-1C) features improved aerodynamics, lower weight and easier maintenance.”
The (LEAP-1C) completed a flight test program in late 2014. It was affixed to a (GE) Aviation (GEC) Boeing 747 flying testbed based in Victorville, California, for the program.
The (LEAP-1A) powering the Airbus A320neo was certified by the (FAA) and (EASA) in November 2015. The (LEAP-1B) powering the Boeing 737 MAX was certified by the (FAA) and (EASA) in May 2016.
January 2017: China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC) (CHD) delivered 18 aircraft in 2016. Additionally, the lessor completed rental realization transactions for 14 aircraft over the year.
(CHD) expects to deliver at least 17 new aircraft in 2017.
(CALC) (CHD)’s 2016 customers included Air Macau (MCU), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Vietnamese low-cost carrier (LCC) Jetstar Pacific (PAH), Chinese (LCC) Lucky Air (LKY), Turkish (LCC) Pegasus Airlines (PGS), Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines (SIC) and Chinese (LCC) West Air (CHO). All received A320ceo aircraft. On December 29, (CALC) signed a long-term lease agreement with Hawaiian Airlines (HWI) for an A321neo, scheduled for delivery in 2018.
(CALC) (CHD) has 92 Airbus A320 family aircraft on order backlog, all scheduled for delivery by 2022. Out of combined orders for 144 A320 family aircraft (including 36 originally placed in October 2012, 100 placed in December 2014, and +4 additional aircraft between December 2015 and January 2016), 52 have been delivered as of December 31, 2016, including 1 A319ceo, 48 A320ceos, and 3 A321ceos. Aircraft still to be delivered include 15 A320ceos, 73 A320neos, 3 A321ceos and 1 A321neo.
As of December 31, (CALC) (CHD)’s portfolio comprised 81 aircraft, which also included 5 Boeing 737NGs and 4 A330 family aircraft. (CHD) expects its fleet to expand to 173 aircraft by 2022.
“[In 2016 we] extended our presence in new markets including Japan and the USA, which will fuel future demand for our aircraft service,” (CALC) Deputy (CEO) & (CCO) Winnie Liu said. “Going forward, we will continue to uphold our vision to go global.”
Additionally, at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2016, (CALC) entered into a non-binding cooperative framework agreement with Hong Kong-based investment group Friedmann Pacific Asset Management to acquire 30 to 60 ARJ21-700 series aircraft from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC), an order valued at $2.3 billion if all options are exercised and reportedly the largest single commercial order for ARJ21-700 aircraft in (COMAC) (CCC)’s history.
March 2017: "China's C919 Jet May Finally Fly by the end of April" by Andrea Rothman, Bloomberg News.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China is set for its 1st flight by the end of April, according to Philippe Petitcolin Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Safran an aircraft engine maker.
Any problems with taxi trials may alter the schedule, Petitcolin said in an interview in Paris. The C919 aircraft is powered by the (LEAP) engine made by (CFM) International, an equal joint venture between Safran and General Electric.
China is developing the 168-seat plane with ambitions of eventually challenging the duopoly of the Airbus group and Boeing in the global aviation market. The passenger jet project is part of an ambitious plan by China President Xi Jinping to modernize China's manufacturing.
The government has identified aerospace among sectors that could help accelerate the process.
The Chief Engineer at (COMAC), as the state-owned aircraft maker is known locally, said in October that the C919 would take off by early 20917 at the latest, after at least 2 delays since 2014.
(COMAC) counts as many as 16 joint corporations as suppliers, including (GE) and Honeywell International, and has set up at least 16 joint ventures for avionics, flight control, power, fuel and landing gear. (COMAC) estimates the market potential for the plane to be as much as $96 billion.
April 2017: News Item A-1: China's Commercial Aircraft Corporation (COMAC) (CCC) is expected to launch the inaugural flight of the much-delayed C919 narrow body in May, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The (CAAC) said the flight will take place at the Shanghai Pudong Airport on the 4th runway, which is 3,800 m/12,467 ft long and 60 m/197 ft wide, and can accommodate various aircraft types, including the Airbus A380. The 5th runway, which is specifically designed for the C919 at 3,400 m long and 45 m wide, is still under construction and not expected to go into formal operations until the 2nd half of this year.
The 158-seat C919 was originally scheduled to operate its maiden flight in 2014 followed by 1st delivery to Chengdu Airlines (UEG). However, the aircraft was not rolled out until October 2015 following program delays. (COMAC) said at the time it had been aiming for 1st flight in 2016.
The C919 started production in 2008 with a mixed cabin configuration of 158 seats and all-economy (Y) class of 168Y seats. The C919 has secured 570 orders from 23 Chinese and foreign customers. China Eastern (CEA) will be the launch customer.
By 2035, (COMAC) aims to take a 3rd of the Chinese narrow body market and a 5th of the global market. (COMAC) has committed to producing between 20 and 50 C919s annually and to increasing annual production capability to 150 C919s and 50 ARJ21 regional aircraft by 2020. Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines (CEA) is the launch customer.
China’s Commercial Aircraft Corporation (COMAC) has completed high-speed taxi testing for the C919, and received a special flight permit from the Civil Aviation Administration of China to conduct the inaugural flight.
News Item A-2: China’s Commercial Aircraft Corporation (COMAC) (CCC) launched the 1st flight of its C919 narrow body on May 5. The aircraft departed from Shanghai Pudong International Airport and flew over Shanghai’s neighboring county of Qidong, in the Jiangsu Province, for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The (CFM) (Leap 1C)-powered C919 is designed to seat 158 passengers in a standard 2-class configuration. When the much-delayed C919 program was launched in 2008, the maiden flight was originally scheduled for 2014 followed by 1st delivery to Chengdu Airlines (UEG). However, the aircraft was not rolled out until October 2015 following program delays. (COMAC) said at the time it had been aiming for its 1st flight in 2016. “(COMAC) has a total of 6 aircraft that are expected to conduct test flights. Our 2nd C919 is assembling now and is scheduled to be off the assembly line this year,” (COMAC) test flights Engineering Director You Liyan told local press. He also said it would take about 3 years for the C919 to get an airworthiness certificate, after which (COMAC) is committed to produce 20 - 50 of the type annually. By 2020, the C919 production rate is expected to increase to 150 per year; production rate for the ARJ21 regional aircraft is scheduled to rise to 50 per year.
By 2035, (COMAC) aims to take a 3rd of the Chinese narrow body market and a 5th of the global market. It is expected that China will take delivery of >5,500 new aircraft worth $670 billion in the next 20 years.
November 2017: The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) has flown its C919 aircraft for the 3rd time (5 weeks after its 2nd flight, and 26 weeks after the 1st flight. While flight testing proceeds at a seemingly unhurried pace, the 2nd prototype is almost ready for taxi tests. Its engines were started for the 1st time on November 2. The 1st prototype’s 3rd flight occurred 1 day later, the state-owned manufacturer said.
China's self-developed C919 passenger jet completed its 1st long-distance flight on November 10 in a milestone that (COMAC) (CCC) said marks the plane's move into an airworthiness certification phase.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) said the C919 flew for 2 hours and 23 minutes from Shanghai to the central Chinese city of Xi'an, traveling >1,300 km/800 miles and reaching an altitude of 7,800 m/25,590 feet.
The jet, which China wants to compete with the Boeing Company (TBC)'s 737 and the Airbus SE A320, is a symbol of China's civil aerospace ambitions. It will remain in Xi'an to undergo further testing, the planemaker said.
"This ferry flight indicates that the C919 possess the ability to fly inter-city routes," (COMAC) said. "(It) marks the move into research and development flight-testing and airworthiness certification work."
The latest flight is the plane's 6th test since it flew for the 1st time on May 5. Analysts had questioned the long time gaps between previous test flights.
(COMAC) is aiming to obtain certification for the plane from Chinese regulators as well as Europe's aviation safety regulator, which in April agreed to start the certification process.
(COMAC) said it planned to eventually test 6 C919 planes and will carry out the 1st flight for its 2nd jet by the end of this year. The plane currently has 27 customers who have placed orders and commitments for 730 jets, it added.
December 2017: News Item A-1: China's Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) financial leasing company becomes C919 biggest customer.
China’s (ICBC) Leasing has ordered 55 Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) C919s, becoming the biggest customer for the aircraft.
News Item A-2: Sino-Russian commercial aircraft consortium Craic is taking over management of the program to develop the CR929 wide body aircraft, following the partners’ approval of a proposed budget and organizational structure. “These decisions will facilitate the launch into operation of the joint venture in the nearest future,” Russian partner United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) said. (UAC) and the Chinese partner, (Comac) (CCC), set up Craic as a joint company in Shanghai in May.
February 2018: "China's Comac Expects Mass Production of C919 Plane after 2021" by Dong Lyu, "Bloomberg News" February 06, 2018.
The state-owned Chinese company (CCC) producing the nation's 1st home built single-aisle commercial aircraft expects to start mass production of the plane after 2021 as it seeks to chase markets in Asia and Africa.
The C919 jet, built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd, will take about 3 to 4 years to get certification for airworthiness from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Lu Zheng, Deputy General Manager of Sales at the company known as Comac, said in an interview at the Singapore Airshow on February 13.
The C919 is part of President Xi Jinping's "Made in China 2025" program, which has identified aerospace among sectors that could accelerate China's advancement. China's ambition is to challenge the duopoly of the Boeing Company (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) in commercial aviation a few years down the line with its own range of aircraft. The Asian country has also teamed up with Russia to build a wide body jet.
"We're working hard to change from a follower to challenger and we are striving to become a leader in the industry some day," Lu said. "It will be a long journey for us."
A certification by the (CAAC) will still only allow the plane within China. The planemaker needs to get all approvals from the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to enable it to sell the aircraft in developed markets.
"We want to get certification from the (CAAC) as soon as possible," Lu said. "Once we get certification from the (FAA) or (EASA), it will help us greatly in making a push."
The C919 made its maiden test flight in May last year and the full flight test program will develop over the next 2 years, Steven Lien, Asia President of Honeywell International Inc's aerospace unit said earlier at the same event. The USA firm is one of the contractors involved in the project.
Comac, which has also developed a regional jet called the ARJ21, aims to deliver the 1st business jet variant of the model to Shanghai-based Yanshang Group this year, Lu said.
The C919 has a total of 785 orders, mostly from Chinese airlines and lessors. The ARJ21 has 433 orders. Chengdu Airlines (UEG), which counts Comac as a major stakeholder, now flies 4 ARJ21s.