Design of large China-made aircraft to be completed by year-end

17:18, March 12, 2010      

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The design of large China-made aircraft will be completed by the end of 2010, and the aircraft's maiden flight is scheduled for 2014, and will be delivered to carriers in 2016, Wu Guanghui, CPPCC member, vice general manager of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and the chief designer of large aircraft, told People's Daily.

More spacious and comfortable than foreign aircraft

Are there special China designs for the domestically-made C919 aircraft? Wu said that the C919 aircraft will be more comfortable and spacious than similar types of 150-seat trunk aircraft made by Boeing, Airbus and other manufacturers.

Compared with similar types of aircraft manufactured by Boeing and Airbus, large China-made aircraft still has 6 seats in a row, but is a little more spacious in width and has more internal space through proper outlays. The width of the seat will be wider than that of existing ones. The specific width of a seat has not yet to be fixed, but each seat may be wider than current seats by several centimeters.

Clients can customize the width of large China-made aircraft – They may enlarge the width of either the seat or the aisle.

Tickets can be cheaper because of the 10 percent reduction in operating costs

"The goal of our designs is to give our aircraft a higher cost performance than foreign rivals," Wu added. The direct operating cost (DOC) of the large China-made aircraft will be lower than that of similar types of existing foreign aircraft by 10 percent. The DOC refers to the seat-mile cost per flight. With this advantage, carriers of the large China-made aircraft may generate 10 percent higher revenues compared to other carriers if they sell the same number of tickets for a flight.

Total sales of the C919 are expected to reach 2,000 units over the next 20 years.

"I believe we can sell more than 2,000 aircraft," Wu said, confident in the future of large China-made aircraft. He added, "in general, the 150-seat aircraft has a breakeven point of approximately 300 units."

He added that domestic airlines have paid great attention to the development of large China-made aircraft, and are all very supportive in taking orders. Furthermore, China is also negotiating with foreign airlines on their requirements for large aircraft.
It is estimated that China's market demand for 150-seat aircraft will reach 2,300 to 2,700 units in the future based upon the expected living standards of Chinese people and the increase in traveling, while the global market demand will exceed 20,000 units. "We may take control of over half of the domestic market, and part of the international market, so the total sales of the C919 aircraft could amount to 2,000 units over the next 20 years," he explained.

The C919 will gradually develop into a series to meet the needs of different customers. "We will develop a new model of the aircraft specifically for high-altitude aerodromes in Lhasa, Jiuzhaigou, and some tourist spots in Yunnan province," he said.

By People's Daily Online
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