Up in the air

By Xia Tian Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-17 18:58:01

Uncertainty hangs over Beijing aviation expo

An Airbus A380 aircraft model on display at the Aviation Expo/China 2015 in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: CFP

The curtain went up at the Aviation Expo/China 2015 in Beijing on Wednesday. As one of the largest aviation shows in China, it is a showcase for the civil and military aviation industry, and provides an important stage for companies to present their strategies for the market.

However, compared with similar aviation shows at home and abroad, there were few stunning deals announced at the Aviation Expo/China 2015, which could undermine its attractiveness in the future.

New deals

As usual, big aerospace manufacturers were the center of attention. On Wednesday, Boeing Tianjin Composites Co, a subsidiary of Boeing Co in China, signed a contract with Shenyang Aircraft Corp to make metal parts for the Boeing 737, 747 and 787 aircraft.

Under the deal, Shenyang Aircraft will provide 72 varieties of metal parts worth $9.9 million to Boeing over six years. Boeing Co also signed a contract with Chengfei Commercial Aircraft Co to produce rudders for the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.

Meanwhile, EU aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS said on Wednesday that it has delivered 90 airplanes, including 13 A330s and 77 A320s, to Chinese airlines in the first eight months of this year. Deliveries for the year are expected to exceed 100.

The manufacturer said it is the sixth straight year for Airbus to deliver more than 100 aircraft to domestic airlines. China has accounted for about 20 percent of the global deliveries in recent years. In 2014, Chinese clients took delivery of 153 new aircraft from Airbus.

Besides the global giants, domestic manufacturers were also an important part of the exhibition.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), the maker of the home-made C919, inked an ICBC Leasing deal to supply 20 jets - 10 C919s and 10 ARJ21s - to Thai City Airways, making the Thai airline the 21st client for C919, and the 20th client for ARJ21.

With that deal, COMAC has taken orders for more than 500 C919s, although there is no exact offline time for the single-aisle airplane.


Chinese aviation has become an important part of the global market, regardless of the concerns expressed by senior executives or the predictions made by the companies.

On Wednesday, COMAC predicted China will need 6,218 aircraft over the next 20 years, making the country one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world as its fleet size will grow from the current rate of 12 percent to 17 percent by 2034.

The report echoes Boeing, which has forecast that China will need 6,330 new airplanes - worth $950 billion - over the next 20 years, including at least 4,630 single-aisle aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.

Chen Juming, president of Airbus China, has said that China will surpass the US to become the largest aviation market in terms of passengers over the next 10 years.


The biggest difference at this year's exhibition was the section for drones.

Some attendees complained that the number of the attendees has been shrinking, along with his interest.

An anonymous insider who declined to give his name told the Global Times Wednesday that his company did not attend the air show this year because it could not attract as many clients as in past years.

"I will take a wait-and-see approach to the Beijing air show," he said.

Posted in: Insight

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