C919 faces fierce market competition
Published: May 05, 2017 12:28 PM
Insiders say upgrading C919 technology to keep up with its competitors is a concern, as rivals continue to optimize their systems in a move to wrestle control of the market.
“Even after gaining certification, the C919 still faces the challenge of how to make itself more competitive in the market, and this is quite complicated,” Wang Ya'nan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Friday.
According to Wang, this will include improving airplane safety, reliability and efficiency, with the C919 facing a tremendous challenge in keeping up with the technological upgrades consistently carried out by Airbus and Boeing in these areas.
About a decade ago, these two aerospace giants both found themselves in need of revamping their aging but popular single-aisle aircraft: the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.
Boeing said in April that its 737 MAX 9, the second member of Boeing’s 737 MAX family with greater efficiency and longer range, had completed its maiden flight. The company is now in the final stage of preparing for the first 737 MAX 8 deliveries in the second quarter of this year, several months ahead of schedule.
Boeing has received more than 3,700 orders from 86 customers worldwide for the 737 MAX, making it the fastest-selling plane in Boeing’s history.
Boeing also said it is set to produce more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from its factory in Zhoushan, East China’s Zhejiang Province.
A few weeks earlier, at the end of March, the Airbus A319neo completed its maiden flight. The aircraft, the smallest member of Airbus’ A320neo family, took off from Hamburg, Germany and landed in Toulouse, France after a five-hour flight.
The current priority for the C919 is to have a safe maiden flight, and earn its commercial business certification as early as possible, Qin Ling, a market watcher, told the Global Times on Thursday, adding the C919 can learn precious lessons from the experience and technology of its rivals.
However, he noted that it could not command the market share of the A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX in the short term, as it still takes a long time to make these plans into reality.
“The medium-term target is to win more domestic carriers’ orders and to turn the C919 into a series,” Qin said, “marching into overseas markets is a long-term target.”