Made in China: Boe­ing, Air­bus, Co­mac jets

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO - Ab­dul Latheef

As an avi­a­tion buff, I have been track­ing the progress of the Co­mac C919 since be­fore mov­ing to Beijing early this year.

In the past few months, work has pro­gressed steadily on the twin-en­gine, sin­gleaisle air­craft, and its maker, State-owned Com­mer­cial Air­craft Corp of China, or Co­mac, is pre­par­ing for test flights.

With a ca­pac­ity for up to 168 pas­sen­gers, the C919 is the largest com­mer­cial air­craft de­vel­oped by China. Some crit­ics in the in­dus­try have spec­u­lated that the pro­gram is aimed at break­ing the Boe­ingAir­bus du­op­oly in the lu­cra­tive nar­row-body seg­ment.

Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth de­spite the fact that air­planes from Boe­ing’s 737 and Air­bus’ A320 fam­i­lies have long dom­i­nated the sin­gle-aisle mar­ket,

This Day, That Year

Item­fromDec6,1993,in Chi­naDaily:Mil­lion­sofChi­nesechil­dren­took­can­dy­coat­ed­pill­syes­ter­day, mark­ingth­es­tartofthe na­tion­wide­po­lioim­mu­niza­tion­cam­paign.Thedriveis aime­datwipin­gout­thedis­easeby1995.

China began im­ple­ment­ing a planned vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram in 1978, and a na­tional vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram in 2007.

Four­teen vac­cines are now of­fered for free to cover 15 dis­eases.

The coun­try has seen a gen­er­at­ing the most rev­enues for the two gi­ants.

Last month’s con­fir­ma­tion by Boe­ing that it will team up with Co­mac to es­tab­lish a com­ple­tion cen­ter for the 737 in Zhoushan, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, lays bare the ar­gu­ment that there is a hid­den agenda in the C919 pro­gram.

If Co­mac had any ul­te­rior mo­tive, it would not have en­tered into an agree­ment with Boe­ing on a 737 fi­nal as­sem­bly line as the deal ac­tu­ally helps the US com­pany ramp up pro­duc­tion of the jet.

Air­bus, which set up its first com­ple­tion cen­ter out­side of Europe in Tian­jin in 2008, is ex­pand­ing the as­sem­bly line to in­clude the A320­neo (new en­gine op­tion) from next year.

Last month, avi­a­tion in­for­ma­tion provider Flight­global fore­cast the de­liv­ery of nearly 27,000 sin­gle-aisle pas­sen­ger air­craft over the next 20 years, a ma­jor­ity of them from the two man­u­fac­tur­ers.

“Un­sur­pris­ingly, given their present mar­ket dom­i­nance of this sec­tor, Air­bus more than 95 per­cent de­cline in deaths from dis­eases such as measles, whoop­ing cough, diph­the­ria, po­lio, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and tetanus since the launch of the im­mu­niza­tion pro­grams.

Po­lio once ran ram­pant in China, with more than 43,000 cases re­ported in 1964 alone. Po­lio was erad­i­cated in 2000.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion now rec­om­mends that all coun­tries should use at least one dose of in­ac­ti­vated po­liovirus vac­cine, or IPV, in their rou­tine im­mu­niza­tion schedule. and Boe­ing are pre­dicted to ac­count for al­most 90 per­cent of sin­gle-aisle de­liv­er­ies through the fore­cast,” Flight­global said.

“(Cana­dian man­u­fac­turer) Bom­bardier, (Rus­sian plane­maker) Irkut and Co­mac be­tween them are ex­pected to achieve about 3,100 air­craft sales through 2035,” it added.

That as­sess­ment is sig­nif­i­cant. Co­mac has a big edge among the three as Bom­bardier’s brand new CSeries air­craft and Irkut’s planned MC-21 are not do­ing well.

As of Oc­to­ber, the C919 had won 570 or­ders.

And, con­sider this: The first Air­bus air­craft — the wide­body A300 — had its maiden flight in 1972, but the com­pany did not win sub­stan­tial or­ders un­til 1979. This fur­ther il­lus­trates the ex­tent of Co­mac’s suc­cess in mar­ket­ing its air­liner even be­fore a test flight.

“Co­mac now has to look at get­ting the air­plane broader mar­ket ac­cep­tance in places around the globe where the 737 and A320 dom­i­nate,”

This year, China will be in­tro­duc­ing a dose of IPV, and which will re­sult in a safer, more ef­fec­tive po­lio vac­ci­na­tion schedule that will be con­sis­tent with the Po­lio Erad­i­ca­tion Endgame Strate­gic Plan (2013-18).

Un­der the na­tional vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram, new­borns — an es­ti­mated 16 mil­lion each year — are re­quired to get oral po­lio vac­cine, or OPV, which, in ex­tremely rare cases, can cause par­a­lyt- said Saj Ah­mad, chief an­a­lyst at Strate­gicAero Re­search, a con­sul­tancy in London.

“That won’t be an easy task, but it is not im­pos­si­ble ei­ther,” Ah­mad said in an email to China Daily.

By es­tab­lish­ing com­ple­tion cen­ters for both Boe­ing and Air­bus jets and by launch­ing a ro­bust air­craft pro­gram of its own, China has achieved some­thing unique — it will be the only coun­try mak­ing three brands of large com­mer­cial air­planes, al­beit not fully.

In the next few years, Boe­ing 737s, Air­bus A320­neos and Co­mac 919s will start rolling out of hangars in Zhoushan, Tian­jin and Shang­hai.

That will be a proud mo­ment for China’s avi­a­tion in­dus­try — and for ev­ery cit­i­zen!

Con­tact the writer at ab­dul@chi­


See more by scan­ning the code.

ic po­lio in a re­cip­i­ent.

Last year, Chi­nese drug reg­u­la­tors ap­proved a new do­mes­ti­cally de­vel­oped vac­cine to pro­tect children from po­lio. It poses no risk of vac­cine-as­so­ci­ated par­a­lytic po­lio.

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