The relationship between the world’s third-largest aircraft maker and China grew closer with the announcement here yesterday of a long-term investment commitment between Bombardier Aerospace and China’s state-controlled aviation manufacturing consortium, Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I).
China Aviation Industry Corporation I
It’s suddenly fashionable to look to China as an up-and-coming economic force, a trend that has drawn billions of dollars in foreign investment into an economy that only 25 years ago grudgingly began to move away from a Soviet-style, centrally planned system.
Xi’an Aircraft Industries delivered the first sets of ARJ21-700 wings and main fuselage sections for final assembly to Shanghai Aircraft Company early last month, heralding the start of final assembly of the 90-seat jet design’s first prototype. The milestone deliveries nearly coincided with the opening of an office by the FAA in Shanghai to support Chinese authorities’ efforts to meet international certification standards.
At Airshow China2004–held from November 1 to 6 in Zhuhai, Guangdong–Russian and Chinese helicopter manufacturers revealed new medium-weight helicopter projects. For the first time, Mil exhibited a model of the Mi-54, and AVIC II revealed details about the medium utility helicopter it is studying.
China’s AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC) continues its march toward a 2008 introduction of the 85-seat ARJ21-700, finishing more or less on schedule some 90 percent of the aircraft’s structural design and 50 percent of its systems design by the end of last year.
Boeing has signed the first firm contract with Chinese suppliers to build parts for the new 787 Dreamliner. Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager of airplane production Carolyn Corvi represented Boeing in Beijing to finalize contracts for the 787 composite rudder, the 737 forward entry door and the 737 automatic over-wing exit door with Chengdu Aircraft, a China Aviation Industry Corp. I (AVIC I) affiliated company.
China’s Avic I Commercial Aircraft Co. (ACAC) may carry out final assembly of the General Electric CF34-10A turbofan powering the ARJ21 regional jet if talks between the two companies bear fruit.
It would be the first time a Chinese manufacturer has taken on final assembly of a commercial engine designed in the West and would reflect China’s long-term intention to develop an aero-engine design and manufacturing capability.
China’s long-planned ARJ21 regional jet, which was supposed to enter commercial service in 2008, is now certain to be delayed by at least one year.
Sichuan Snecma Aero-engine Maintenance Co. (SSAMC), a joint venture between Snecma Services, Air China and Willis Lease Finance Corp., has signed an exclusive 20-year maintenance, repair and overhaul agreement to service CFM56-5B and -7B engines powering Air China’s growing fleet of 160 aircraft.
Sikorsky and China Aviation Industry Corp. II (AVIC II) recently struck a deal to jointly develop and build civil helicopters. The companies will also explore establishing AVIC II subsidiary Changhe Aircraft Industry as a second production source of S-76 fuselages.