Boeing, Comac To Jointly Fund Emissions Research

 - March 6, 2012, 9:04 AM
Comac president He Dongfeng (left) and Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh seal the companies' first collaboration deal in Beijing. (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing and China’s Comac have signed their first so-called collaboration agreement centering on the creation of an aviation energy conservation and emissions reduction technology center in Beijing, the companies announced Tuesday.

Funded by both companies, the Beijing center will support research projects to increase commercial aviation’s fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, under the terms of a contract signed during a ceremony in Beijing by Comac chairman Jin Zhuanglong, Comac president He Dongfeng and Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh. The manufacturers also agreed to hold annual “leadership engagements” and exchange commercial aviation market forecasts.

“Through this collaboration agreement, Boeing and Comac will build our relationship and will further sustainable growth and fuel efficiency for China’s fast-growing aviation market,” said Albaugh. “Our new technology center shows that two companies in a competitive industry can partner to make progress on important challenges that cannot be solved by one company alone. That is good for customers and passengers, and it’s the right thing to do.”

Plans call for the companies to locate the Boeing-Comac Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction Technology Center at Comac’s Beijing Civil Aircraft Technology Research Center. The companies expect to collaborate with China-based universities and research institutions to expand knowledge of technologies—such as sustainable aviation biofuels and aviation connectivity infrastructure—that improve commercial aviation’s energy efficiency or reduce the industry’s carbon emissions. Boeing and Comac have agreed to jointly select and fund each research project.

This year Boeing marks the 40th anniversary of its partnership with China’s aviation industry. As the single largest purchaser of made-in-China aviation parts, Boeing commits hundreds of millions of dollars annually to dozens of Chinese suppliers. Today, some 6,000 Boeing airplanes fly throughout the world with integrated Chinese-built parts and assemblies.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has forecast that passenger traffic in China will surpass 300 million this year and reach 1.5 billion passengers in 2030. Boeing projects that Chinese airlines will need to buy 5,000 new airplanes by 2030 to meet the demand.

Now developing the ARJ21 regional jet and the C919 narrowbody to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, Comac hopes to secure a third of the Chinese market for airliners over the next two decades.