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Mon, May 12, 2008 - Page 10 News List

China sets up its own jet company

STEP FORWARDTo reduce its dependency on Boeing and Airbus, China established the new company in Shanghai with US$2.7 billion in registered capital

AP , BEIJING

China has established a homegrown company to make passenger jumbo jets, state media reported yesterday — a step forward in the country’s quest to become less dependent on Boeing and Airbus.

China Commercial Aircraft Co (中國商用飛機公司) was established in Shanghai with registered capital of 19 billion yuan (US$2.7 billion), Xinhua news agency said.

It said the central government and the Shanghai government are among the major shareholders, as are China’s two main aircraft manufacturing and servicing companies, China Aviation Industry Corp I (AVIC I, 中國航空工業第一集團公司) and China Aviation Industry Corp II (AVIC II, 中國航空工業第二集團公司), which were split off from state-owned China Aviation Industry Corp in 1999.

China’s state broadcaster CCTV said the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the central government had committed 6 billion yuan, making it the largest investor.

Europe’s Airbus has forecast that China’s domestic market will increase fivefold by 2026. Airbus and Chicago-based rival Boeing dominate the market for commercial airplanes carrying 100 or more people.

Xinhua said China Commercial Aircraft Co will be able to make planes with more than 150 seats.

General manager Jin Zhuang-long (金壯龍) said in a Xinhua interview that it was too early to say when a Chinese-developed jumbo jet would be taking off, as it would take a long time to develop homegrown talent and do research.

“According to the development history of Airbus and Boeing, the development and success of civil planes cannot be realized by relying on one or two generations,” he was quoted as saying.

The company’s short-term goal is to help market and sell China’s first commercial jet, the 85-seat ARJ21, which has already been developed by AVIC I, he said.

The jet has yet to make its maiden flight, but AVIC I has already received 181 orders from Chinese carriers. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with GE Capital Aviation Services on a possible order for five jets, which would be the first sale to a major foreign company.

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