China has long toured the international airshow circuit heralding its ambitions to become a major player in the aerospace sector. The China National Aero Technology Import and Export agency is at Singapore Airshow this week (Stand V67) and seems to have made some tangible steps toward establishing its role in the industry.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China
By the time the three examples of the Comac ARJ21 regional jet had accumulated some 220 flight hours by the middle of this month, China had proven that it could assemble and fly an indigenous airplane derived from a Western design. But the country’s aspirations to become a global aerospace power will demand more than an ability to adapt already mature Western technology to programs meant almost solely for domestic consumption.
The Changhe subsidiary of China’s Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) completed its first Sikorsky S-76C++ airframe yesterday at its plant near Shanghai. It will now be shipped to Sikorsky’s Coatesville, Pa. facility for completion. Changhe will manufacture additional S-76 airframes in 2010.
China signaled in clear terms its plans to mount a determined–and relatively prompt–challenge of Boeing’s and Airbus’s domination of the world’s single-aisle airplane market during Hong Kong’s Asian Aerospace 2009, where Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) for the first time appeared at an international airshow.
Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) is undergoing another restructuring so that all of its assets are incorporated into a single company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The plan would consolidate some $22 billion worth of aircraft production assets under the mantle of AVIChina as the group attempts to establish a corporate structure to match that of Boeing and Airbus.
The second ARJ21-700 jet flew for the first time on July 1. The airplane took off from Dachang Airport in Shanghai, where the Shanghai Aircraft Company performs final assembly, a month after rolling out of the factory and two weeks after its first taxi tests. The flight lasted 61 minutes, during which time the airplane cruised at an altitude of 9,000 feet.
A new regional airline based in Xi’an, China called Joy Air plans to launch revenue operations this month with three Xi’an Aircraft (XAC) MA-60 turboprops.
GE Aviation today announced the opening of a new systems manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China. GE Aviation Systems president and CEO Lorraine Bolsinger formally opened the facility at an event attended by senior representatives of the Government of Suzhou, China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) and other senior government and customer officials.
Airbus and a group of Chinese industrial partners today signed a contract to establish a joint-venture manufacturing center in Harbin, China, to build composite material parts and components for the Airbus A350XWB and A320 family.
China’s Xi’an Aircraft Industry Company (XAC) has started preliminary work on the Modern Ark 700 (MA700), a 70-seat turboprop regional aircraft that it expects to fly by 2013 or 2014.
The MA700 would be more energy-efficient than the Chinese turboprop now under development–the 60-seat MA600– and designed for high-altitude operations, said Geng Ruoguang, vice general manager of China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC), parent of XAC.