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China's big three carriers -- Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China
Southern Airlines -- are expected to be the launch customers for the
planned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) C919
The three will probably place their order during this year's
Airshow China, which will be held in Zhuhai in November. The
decision was made by representatives from the three airlines, state-
owned manufacturer Comac and top brass from the Civil Aviation
Administration of China (CAAC) at a closed-door meeting on the
C919 project in Beijing on 18 May.
According to a CAAC official who spoke to Asian Aviation on the
condition of anonymity, the three airlines have expressed interest in
supporting the C919 project with input and orders.
Two other carriers -- Shenzhen Airlines, which is controlled by Air
China, and Shanghai Airlines, controlled by China Eastern -- are also
understood to have expressed interest in orders. The official declined
to confirm this, saying only that time will tell.
Comac, which is responsible for design and manufacture of the
aircraft, expects to sell 2,000 to 2,200 C919s over 20 years, with
most going to Chinese airlines. The design phase is to be completed
by the end of this year or early January 2011, with the first test flight
expected in 2014 and certification two years later.
The aircraft will seat 150-160 passengers in a two-class layout
or 180-190 in a single-class configuration, depending on customer
specifications. It will be China's first indigenous narrowbody jetliner,
not-counting the smaller ARJ21 regional jet, and is expected to
compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 in the international
and Chinese market for orders.
Boeing currently has a 53 percent share of China commercial jetliner
market, while Airbus holds about 43 percent.
Meanwhile, Hamilton Sundstrand has secured a US$1 billion
contract to provide electrical power generation and distribution
systems for the C919. The contract is valid for the duration of the
The US aerospace giant will set up a joint venture company with
Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) System to develop and
manufacture the systems. Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United
Technologies, is also the supplier for the electrical power, high-lift
actuation and fire-protection systems for the ARJ21.
Honeywell International will supply the aircraft's auxiliary power
unit and related equipment, while Parker Hannifin won contracts for
components including the fuel and hydraulic systems.
Liebherr-Aerospace will supply the C919's air management system
and Goodrich will provide exterior lighting. The contracts specify that
Honeywell, Parker Hannifin, Liebherr and Goodrich all have to find
Chinese partners for the programme. -- William Dennis
China's big three airlines to be C919 launch customers
NEWS IN BRIEF
MALAYSIA AIRLINES (MAS) is to lease another three Boeing 737-800s
to take over some routes now operated by Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
With three already in operation, a fourth 737-800 leased from ILFC was
delivered to the airline on 13 May. The aircraft, which is currently being
reconfigured to seat 16 passengers in business class and 144 in economy
class will be operational in late June. It will be deployed on services to
Manila, currently operated daily by A330-300 aircraft. MAS plans to
operate the flight twice daily. A fifth aircraft, to be leased from Hong
Kong Airways, will arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport during the
fourth week of June and will be utilised for Indian routes. A sixth will then
be leased new from Boeing later this year. MAS is keen to deploy the
aircraft on the Male and Colombo routes.
The airlines will probably place orders for the new
jetliner at this year s Airshow China in November.
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