Boeing Problems are Unlikely for the Chinese
Airlines that have doubts about the purchase of aircraft from the American Boeing can, in addition to the European rival Airbus, also opt for the Chinese state-owned company Comac. With the C919, this has a definite asset as an alternative to the challenged Boeing 737 MAX, but also to the Airbus A320neo.
According to Comac, 800 units of the C919 have now been ordered worldwide. The aircraft can accommodate around 170 passengers. According to experts, China took an ambitious bet to build an aviation industry from scratch. The country wants to break the hold of Western companies in the aviation industry.
Surprisingly, China was one of the first countries to close its airspace for the Boeing 737 MAX after the air disaster in Ethiopia. Chinese companies accounted for 14 percent of Boeing sales last year.
With at least ten companies worldwide that have doubts about their previous Boeing order, there are clear opportunities for Comac, experts say. In China alone, around 9000 new devices will be needed in the next twenty years, the majority of which must be suitable for short and medium distances.
In addition to the C919, China is working with the Russian United Aircraft Corp on the CR929, which can also be deployed on longer flights. Comac is also building a training centre for maintenance technicians, stewards and other employees.
The engines of the C919 are from CFM International, a collaboration between the American General Electric and the French company Safran. China itself cannot yet design and produce engines for commercial aircraft.
The technology involved in engine production is at the core of a recent riot between China and the US over alleged espionage. Beijing is said to have attempted to hack computer systems from companies to obtain information about aircraft engines. The Chinese government contradicted the charges.