Zhuhai Show Sets Grand Stage for Chinese Programs

 - November 29, 2010, 7:02 AM
Comac’s ARJ21 regional jet made its public flying debut at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition held in Zhuhai in November. (Photo by Vladimir Karnozov)

The China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition staged in the southern city of Zhuhai earlier this month served as a high-profile platform from which to trumpet the growing achievements of China’s civil aircraft business. Indeed, much of the $9.3 billion worth of new business announced at the show went to the home team.

Almost 600 exhibitors from more than 35 countries flocked to the event, and more than 70 aircraft were on display in the static park. Comac’s new ARJ-21 regional jet, which has now completed 900 hours of flight-testing, took center stage and participated in the show’s flying displays. The Chinese manufacturer also unveiled plans to develop six variants of its new C919 single-aisle airliner and announced contracts covering the sale of as many as 100 C919s for Air China, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, CDB Leasing Company and Gecas.

Embraer and Avic signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a leasing agreement that could see the Chinese group’s leasing arm deliver up to $1.5 billion worth of the Brazilian airframer’s aircraft in China over the next five years. Embraer now predicts demand for 950 regional airliners in China over the next 20 years.

Rolls-Royce received a welcome boost with a $1.8 billion contract to supply engines for 20 Airbus airliners ordered by Air China. Under the terms of the deal, it will provide Trent XWB turbofans for 10 A350XWBs and Trent 700s for 10 A330s. Off-stage on the first day of the Zhuhai show, Airbus announced a separate deal to sell two A330-300s and six A321s to TransAsia Airways of Taiwan.

Finally, Xian Aircraft sold five of its MA600 twin turboprops in Zhuhai. The government of Laos has committed to taking two of the ATR72 competitor and China’s Joy Air another three from Avic Leasing.