With the demand for aircrafts growing in China, Boeing Co. has started keeping the Chinese market in mind when designing new planes. Features, such as seating arrangement, size, and fuel efficiency, are some of the things the Seattle-based aircraft company is looking over, said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of sales and marketing for greater China and Korea for Boeing at the Aviation Expo/China 2011 in Beijing on September 21, 2011.
At the same convention, Mounir also said that Boeing predicts that China’s aircraft purchases would increase over the next 20 years to 5,000, worth about $600 billion, and that Boeing would like to capture at least half of that market share. Last year, Boeing predicted that China would increase to just over 4,300 aircrafts, worth about $480 billion.
The China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) predicted just under 4,600 passenger planes would need to be added in China in the next 20 years to keep up with passenger growth and replace aging aircraft.
“China is one of the world’s fastest growing and dynamic aviation markets, driven by the urbanization of China, the growth of its economy, and an ever increasing personal wealth,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing, at a 2010 press conference in Beijing.
Currently, Boeing holds almost 60 percent of the Chinese market, while Airbus, a European-based aircraft manufacturer, holds almost 40 percent the Chinese market. Boeing wants to sell its 737 planes to Chinese airlines, while Airbus wants to sell its A320 airplanes to the same market. The 737 aircrafts seat between 110 to 160 passengers, according to the Boeing website. The A320 seats 150 passengers, according to the Airbus website.
However, both companies face stiff competition from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), the first commercial-jet manufacturer in China. The Chinese company revealed the C919 last year. The aircraft would seat up to 190 passengers.
The plane’s first flight is scheduled for 2014, and is expected to be in service by 2016, said Chen Jin, marketing director for COMAC. Other than the C919, COMAC currently makes the ARJ21, which seats up to 90 passengers. China is currently in third place in aircraft manufacturing, behind the US and Europe. However, it is a large supplier of parts to companies that build airplanes.
“There is not a plane we build that doesn’t have parts from China in it,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing, last year. Boeing, unlike Airbus, does not assemble its planes in China, but has 35 Chinese parts-suppliers, making it the largest buyer of parts in China.
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