Bombardier now sees China as second only to North America in terms of anticipated regional airliner sales. Andy Solem, the Canadian airframer’s vice president for China and North Asia, told a November 13 press conference at Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai that it sees demand for as many as 2,200 single-aisle airliners [100 to 149 seats] in the Chinese market over the next 20 years.
“We know that the Chinese government is committed to building the aviation infrastructure to handle the traffic,” said Solem. “Smaller airports can handle the regional travel needs of many Chinese, whereas Beijing and Shanghai airports are reaching maximum capacity.” He claimed that Bombardier’s new CSeries twinjet and the Q400 twin turboprop stand to be major beneficiaries of this demand.
The Q400 is built in partnership with China’s Avic group, with essentially 50 percent of the structure manufactured at the company’s joint venture plant in Shenyang. Of Bombardier’s partnership with the Chinese on the CSeries Solem said, “We’ve followed up by placing major portions of the CSeries with our partner in Shenyung. [There are] 300 Chinese workers there, with 150 Bombardier experts backing them up. We fully expect that we’ll place more and more of the CSeries work here in China. We have an excellent building relationship with [Avic’s parent] Comac as well.”
In March 2012, Bombardier signed a memorandum of understanding with Avic/Comac for CSeries cooperation. This covers agreement covers work on the CSeries cockpit, electrical systems, human/machine interface, aluminum-lithium materials and product support. Solem stressed that none of the issues that have caused a delay in the first flight of the CSeries aircraft relate to any work being done at the Shenyang plant.