China, perhaps uncomfortable with the thought of an industry it doesn’t completely dominate, is accelerating plans to roll out a home-grown passenger plane to compete with best-selling planes from Boeing and Airbus.
China has long aspired to play the plane game, but what’s caught the industry by surprise is the timeline its state-sponsored aircraft company has now set for getting the Comac 919 airliner off the ground. Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China is pushing up its delivery date by four years to 2016, which would put the plane on tarmacs before we see replacements for the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
The two biggest players in aviation can’t be happy to see a home-grown competitor horning in on what is fast becoming one of the world’s most lucrative aviation markets.
Airbus estimates the size of China’s passenger aircraft fleet will triple during the next 20 years. Translate that into actual orders, and you’re looking at something on the order of 2,800 new planes with a book value of $329 billion. You can’t blame China for wanting to keep as much of that money in the country as possible.