China—With Western Help—Finds Its Wings

Issue 05-15-17   |   Reviewer:   Duane Helleloid, Ph.D.


China's new C919 airplane (the first model took flight last week) is expected to compete with Boeing and Airbus for market share among single-aisle aircraft that can carry 150-plus passengers.

Within the Chinese market alone, it is expected airlines will buy over 5,000 planes of this size in the next 20 years. Although there is little doubt that the plane will be purchased by a number of China's state-owned airlines, the real test will be whether airlines outside of China will add the aircraft to their fleet.  

While the body is built in China, many of the high-tech components come from Western suppliers that serve all the major aircraft manufacturers. This reliance on foreign suppliers not only helped Comac develop the plane, but will also give foreign buyers greater confidence in the plane's reliability.  

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