C919 Rises to Challenge

At the Zhuhai Airshow, which ended on November 20, state-backed Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (中国商用飞机有限公司,COMAC) said it won 50 orders for the planned 168-seat C919 plane (C919大型客机), bringing the total to 380.

China’s rapid economic growth is creating massive demand for planes as growing incomes boost air travel, with U.S. aviation giant Boeing (波音公司) estimating the country will need 5,260 commercial jets over the next 20 years.

But China wants a piece of that giant market as it tries to develop its own technology and then look overseas for sales. The C919 plane is expected to compete with Boeing’s 737 and the A320 of Airbus (空中客车), but catching up might take at least a decade, industry analysts said.

“The goal of the Chinese is to be in a few years at the same level as different parties around the world—of course Airbus and Boeing,” said David Lopez Grange, general director of Spanish aeronautics (航空学) firm Aritex. “Maybe it’s not a long time—10 years. China will be a very important player in the world in a few years,” he said.

Currently, C919 still relies on foreign technology for key parts of the project, including the engines, to be supplied by French-American venture CFM International (CFM国际). The project provides a chance for China to obtain certain technology through cooperation with foreign countries, so as to advance its own aviation manufacturing.

As COMAC develops the C919, it is also building a smaller regional jet which seats 78 to 90 passengers. The company said earlier this month that it would assemble 50 regional jets annually by 2014, and is targeting annual production of 150 of the larger C919 planes by 2020.

Some potential buyers are waiting, including Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines (春秋航空), which is a devoted customer of the Airbus A320. The latest orders were booked by two Chinese carriers: Joy Air (幸福航空) and two-year-old Hebei Airlines (河北航空). A foreign company, GE Capital Aviation Services (通用电气资本航空服务), also ordered 10.

1、according to industry analyst, how many years will C919 compete with Boeing’s 737 and the A320 of Airbus?
A 10 years
B 20 years
D at least 20 years
C at least 10 years






>>   沪江中小学新浪微博