Chinese domestic aircraft manufacturers boom after pandemic

People will walk past the stand of the Ministry of Defense Science and Technology at the China International Aviation and Aeronautics Expo, or Air Show China, which was held in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China on 28 September 2021. REUTERS / Aly Song

September 28, 2021

By Stella Qiu and David Kirton

China, ZHUHAI (Reuters) – The country’s largest airshow will take place on Tuesday, with strong post-pandemic prospects for the Chinese aviation market announced by commercial aircraft manufacturers expected to increase the share of predatory products for national manufacturers. I am.

Airshow China, usually biennial in the southern city of Zhuhai, one year late for COVID-19, will be held from September 28 to October 3, allowing Beijing to parade its growing aeronautical capabilities. to augment.

China is an important commercial hunting ground for foreign airlines, thanks to the rapid resumption of domestic travel after the severity of the pandemic, but the outlook is complicated by Beijing’s desire to develop its own champion.

National aviation regulators can be a barrier for foreign aircraft manufacturers looking to increase new aircraft sales in the world’s largest market.

As Chinese Commercial Aircraft (COMAC) ramps up production of the 90-seat ARJ21 regional aircraft, regulators see slightly larger products from Airbus SE and Embraer SA in Brazil with more advanced, more fuel-efficient engines in fuel. Not certified.

As a spectator of the show, Airbus China CEO George Shoe said the automaker is still discussing certification with China. Authentication, along with support services, has been the key to customer confidence in orders.

Embraer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on China’s certification.

“We believe that China’s aviation market will be the largest in the world in the future. Embraer already has a strong and positive presence in the market, providing a solid foundation for the state-of-the-art E2 jet. “More,” Arjan Meijer, CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, said in a statement.

Outside of China, the Airbus A220 entered service in 2016 and the Embraer E-Jet E2 family entered service in 2018.

However, China has policies in favor of its own aircraft, such as offering favorable airport slots, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said last year.

COMAC predicted on Tuesday that over the next 20 years, Chinese airlines will need a 90-seat 953 regional jet, the size of the ARJ21. This is compared to the 120-seat 261 aircraft, like the more popular E2 model and the smaller version of the A220.

Yang Yang, deputy director of marketing at COMAC, said the market has plenty of room for all players.

“The aviation market is as big as the Pacific Ocean, where we have our own competitive territories,” he told reporters.

COMAC is awaiting local certification of the larger 160-seat C919, a rival to the Airbus A320 and Boeing Co 737 families, this year, but it will take some time to start production.

“The post-COVID aviation market is more competitive and more competitive than it was before COVID, so listen carefully and support our customers with the best products and services. It reminds us that we have to do this,” Airbus said at the Xu C919 market entry.

Exposed defense

China’s defense capabilities were also on display in Zhuhai.

The flight demonstration on a hot, hazy day with crowds competing for shade included a colorful display of the J-10 by the Bailly aerobatic team after the opening ceremony attended by military and government officials.

The Chinese J-20 fighter first flew with a domestic engine rather than a Russian engine, official media reported.

On the ground, China exhibited prototypes of the long-life CH-6 drone and the WZ-7 high-altitude surveillance drone capable of reconnaissance and attack maneuvers.

Due to strict quarantine regulations, the show is primarily a national issue, with local aerospace and defense companies increasing its presence. Some foreign companies can only send staff based in China, with smaller booths than the previous show in 2018.

Organizers have announced that the next Air Show China will be held from November 8 to 13, 2022, reviving the pre-pandemic calendar.

(Reported by Stella Qiu and David Kirton from Zhuhai, written by Jamie Freed from Sydney, edited by Gerry Doyle)

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