China’s commercial aviation manufacturing sector is challenged to match Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer in building large passenger jets. But it faces brighter prospects in building general aviation and business aircraft, according to a Rand study released last month.
Honeywell’s long-term investments in the Asian marketplace are paying off, according to Briand Greer, the Shanghai-based president of Asia-Pacific for aerospace. “This is a big show for us with what’s happening with business and general aviation [BGA] in the region,” he said. Key Honeywell BGA programs in China include the LTS101 engine for Avicopter’s AC311 helicopter, which was certified by the CAAC last year and represents the first new airframe for that engine in many years.
Managers of foreign aerospace companies with joint-venture operations in China uniformly worry about the theft of their intellectual property, according to a Rand study issued on April 4. They believe that staying ahead of emerging Chinese competitors requires constant technological innovation, it added.
GE Aviation announced on March 26 that it will break ground this year on a new $100 million assembly plant in Lafayette, Ind., to produce Leap engines for narrowbody airliners as part of its CFM International joint venture with France’s Snecma. It expects the plant will create 200 jobs by 2020.
Liebherr-Aerospace recently delivered the first bleed air system for the C919 narrowbody to Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac, the Toulouse, France-based aerosystems supplier announced on Tuesday. Comac chose Liebherr-Aerospace to develop, manufacture, qualify and certify the C919’s integrated air management sytem in 2010.
Lengthy aircraft program delays happen for a variety of reasons, but a common thread lies in what multinational management consultancy Accenture calls their extraordinary complexity and the “interwoven” nature of the decisions of hundreds of suppliers. Compounding such complexity, says Accenture, a wide geographic dispersion of suppliers exists across virtually all regions of the world, resulting in fragmented, disaggregated and misaligned development processes, supply chain calculations such as parts shortages and manufacturing/engineering inefficiencies.
CFM International is confident Comac’s C919 program is progressing on a sound basis, but the engine manufacturer does have contingency plans for the Leap-1C turbofan it has designed for the narrowbody to mitigate program risks in case further delays arise.
Photos have appeared on Chinese websites of an Ilyushin Il-76 testbed fitted with a large high-bypass ratio turbofan under the port inner pylon.
In May this year the French-U.S. joint venture CFM International delivered the 25,000th example of its CFM56 turbofan, which powers Boeing Next-Generation 737s and the Airbus single-aisle family. Last month the 10,000th CFM56-7B for the 737 family was delivered, while next month deliveries of CFM56-5s for Airbus will pass 8,500. As well as these two influential single-aisle aircraft lines, the CFM56 also powers the Airbus A340-200/300.
Engine manufacturer CFM International reports that the Leap series of turbofans under development for the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 Max and Comac C919 narrowbodies is performing as planned since full engine testing began last month. “I’m proud and really happy to tell you that the engine is running smoothly,” Chaker Chahrour, CFM executive vice president, told reporters in a teleconference on October 16. “This engine wants to run.”
- Page 1