Large aircraft design nearing completion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 November, 2008, 12:00am

The 300 engineers in Shanghai designing the nation's first large passenger aircraft are expected to complete their task by the end of the year, said Zhang Qingwei, the chairman of Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, at the Airshow China yesterday.

Through the large aircraft programme, Commercial Aircraft hopes to compete with Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer as a major aircraft manufacturer.

The project would open tender for suppliers internationally next month, Mr Zhang said.

'We will oversee the overall design, the system and power designs, acquiring them internationally through open tenders,' said Mr Zhang, adding the state-owned company was open to co-operating with international rivals such as Airbus and Boeing.

The first plane will be a 150-seat aircraft - but capable of carrying 130 to 200 passengers depending on the configuration of different airlines.

In 20 years, China would need 1,400 single-aisle aircraft, said the company.

'Our big aircraft aims to reach the international standard for environmental protection and fuel efficiency,' said chief designer Wu Guanghui yesterday.

Homegrown regional jet ARJ21-700, which has just won 25 orders from General Electric, is set to have its flying debut this month, Mr Zhang said.

In the next 12 months, the company is aiming to get four ARJ21s in trial flights and obtain certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration for the aircraft.