In February of this year, at the Singapore Air Show, Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (Comac) unveiled a commercial aircraft designed and built entirely in China: the Comac C919 twin-jet airliner—considered by many to be a serious threat to the Boeing 737. A Chinese-built version of the Airbus A320 was introduced last year.
Comac and other Chinese aircraft manufacturers rely on foreign-made engines and avionics, but intend to develop homegrown solutions for parts/components and systems currently outsourced.
In recent talks with a number of U.S. owned and operated aircraft parts suppliers, I have found that a great many industry players are delivering components to China aircraft makers.
“There is a great deal of excitement in the region,” Mark Howes, president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific, told the BBC in an interview at the Singapore Air Show. “We’re all negotiating and pursuing these deals.” In fact, the Chinese aerospace market has attracted the attention of a wealth of Western suppliers—including Rockwell Collins, General Electric, and Honeywell.
“[Chinese aircraft makers] will add a whole new level of economic activity to our industry,” continued Howes.
Indeed, the growing Chinese aerospace market is likely providing a much-needed shot in the arm to U.S. firms challenged by current economic conditions. It is cause to wonder, however, whether the industry will suffer long-term as China continues its upward trend, and potentially displaces longtime industry giants.
It’s a complex issue, one which potentially has military ramifications and which this geek (and many others) will continue to ponder.
Link to Made in China Part One