CO­MAC to sup­ply jets to car­rier in Thai­land

State-owned air­craft maker says agree­ment to en­hance its chances for over­seas or­ders

China Daily (Canada) - - TORONTO - ByWANGWEN wang­wen@chi­

State-owned plane maker Com­mer­cial Air­craft Corp of China Ltd has signed an ini­tial agree­ment with lessor ICBC Fi­nan­cial Leas­ing Co to lease 10 ARJ21 re­gional jets and 10 of its C919 sin­gle-aisle com­mer­cial jets to Thai air­line City Air­ways.

The deal was an­nounced on Wed­nes­day at the 2015 China Avi­a­tion Expo in Bei­jing. Fi­nan­cial terms were not dis­closed.

The Bangkok-based car­rier, es­tab­lished in 2011, has be­come the 21st client for C919, the China-made 160seat pas­sen­ger air­plane, and the 20th client for ARJ21, the do­mes­ti­cally made re­gional jet with 70 to 90 seats.

City Air­ways, which op­er­ates four Boe­ing 737 air­craft on some do­mes­tic routes in Thai­land and routes to China, ex­pects to re­ceive the first ARJ21 in June 2017. It still needs at least one year af­ter the pur­chase for the air­craft to get the nec­es­sary cer­ti­fi­ca­tions from the civil avi­a­tion author­i­ties in Thai­land.

“The China-made air­plane is ideally suited for the air­line’s ex­pan­sion in Thai­land and nearby re­gions,” said Yan Zexin, chair­man of City Air­ways.

Yan, who hails from China, said that though he op­er­ates a for­eign car­rier, he still would like to pro­vide an in­ter­na­tional plat­form for Chi­nese air­craft. The China-made air­craft will also re­solve an ur­gent prob­lem for City Air­ways, since it can­not get early de­liv­ery slots from Air­bus SAS or Boe­ing Co, Yan said.

The first batch of two ARJ21 jets will be de­liv­ered to the first client on Nov 28, and the air­craft has got more than 300 or­ders at present.

ARJ21 al­ready has a 10 per­cent mar­ket share in the global avi­a­tion mar­ket for planes with less than 130 seats, ac­cord­ing to Em­braer SA, which has a 52 per­cent mar­ket share in the same seg­ment.

Tian Min, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of CO­MAC, said: “We will ex­plore the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket with our clients and part­ners.”

C919, CO­MAC’s other prod­uct and the first China-made large pas­sen­ger air­craft, is ex­pected to roll out by the end of this year. How­ever, its maiden flight and de­liv­ery timetable have not been fi­nal­ized yet, CO­MAC said.

CO­MAC has 514 or­ders from do­mes­tic and for­eign clients. ICBC Fi­nan­cial Leas­ing, a sub­sidiary of In­dus­trial and Com­mer­cial Bank of China Ltd, is the largest lessor for C919s with 45 or­ders. The com­pany also pro­vides fi­nanc­ing so­lu­tions for other C919 clients.

Cong Lin, chair­man of ICBC Fi­nan­cial Leas­ing, said: “We are keen on sup­port­ing do­mes­ti­cally made air­planes through fi­nan­cial leas­ing, and City Air­ways’ or­ders show that the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket is re­cep­tive to China-made air­craft.”

Some of ICBC Fi­nan­cial Leas­ing’s global clients have also ex­pressed an in­ter­est in C919s, he said.

Eric Chen, pres­i­dent of Air­bus China, said the global civil avi­a­tion mar­ket has enough ca­pac­ity for another player.

CO­MAC ex­pects that 6,218 new air­craft will be de­liv­ered to China in the next two decades, and 4,195 of them will be sin­gle-aisle jets, such as the C919 and Air­bus A320.

China’s fleet will grow to 7,034 by 2034, driven by sta­ble eco­nomic growth and im­prove­ment in con­sump­tion over the next two decades, CO­MAC said.

CO­MAC’s out­look is slightly lower than Boe­ing’s, which es­ti­matesChina’s fleet to triple to 7,210 in the next two decades.

Yang Yang, di­rec­tor of the mar­ket­ing re­search cen­ter at CO­MAC, said that though the mar­ket out­looks are dif­fer­ent, CO­MAC still has an edge over oth­ers.

“We un­der­stand­more­about the China mar­ket, as we are a Chi­nese man­u­fac­turer,” he said.

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