China Wins 100 C919 Orders, Breaks Airbus-Boeing Grip

15-Nov-2010

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Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) — Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China announced its first 100 C919 passenger-plane orders, breaking Airbus SAS and Boeing Co.’s stranglehold on the world’s second- largest market for new aircraft.

General Electric Co.’s leasing arm and China’s big three domestic airlines were among the customers for 168-seat plane, state-controlled Comac said in a statement issued at the Zhuhai air show in southern China today. It didn’t say how many aircraft each customer ordered.

The development of the nation’s first large passenger aircraft could damp sales for overseas planemakers in China, which may need $480 billion worth of aircraft by 2029, according to Boeing. Comac expects to sell more than 2,000 C919s worldwide over 20 years in competition with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’s A320, the aircraft-makers’ most popular models.

“The aircraft is of national importance,” said Harry Chen, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co. “But, as it’s only on the drawing board so far, we still have to see how fuel-efficient and less expensive it really is.”

The C919’s Chinese customers include Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co., China Eastern Airlines Corp., HNA Group Co. and CDB Leasing Co., according to the statement.

China first announced plans for the C919 in 2008, as it seeks to develop a global competitive aerospace industry. The 70-seat ARJ21, China’s first regional jet, is also due to make its maiden exhibition flight at this week’s Zhuhai show.

China will trail only the U.S. in plane orders over the next 20 years, according to Boeing.

–Liza Lin. With assistance from Wing-Gar Cheng in Hong Kong and Irene Shen in Shanghai. Editors: Neil Denslow, Michael Tighe

To contact the reporter on this story: Liza Lin in Shanghai at llin15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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