For decades the air transport industry has been dominated by two major players: Boeing and Airbus. These two companies have delivered numerous commercial aircraft and have recently been grabbing headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons concerning their two latest offerings, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380 'superjumbo'. But the next few years look set to bring two new players onto the scene: Bombardier and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac). Both companies are manufacturing commercial aircraft that will directly compete with Boeing and Airbus' present offerings. For the first time ever, Comac will display a model of its C919 aircraft at the Asian Aerospace Expo & Congress 2009. The aircraft is expected to seat more than 150 passengers and is scheduled to enter service in 2016. It may well offer improved passenger comfort and technical performance than the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 models which currently offer similar size and range. Alongside this, Bombardier has launched its CSeries of aircraft which are expected to first fly in 2012. The CSeries is a US$3.2 billion project, and will consist of two aircraft, a 110 seater and a 130 seater. It may seem like a strange time for two new players to start out in the market, but with so much of Airbus and Boeing's efforts being concentrated on the Dreamliner and A380, not much attention has been given to this side of the market. In fact, according to Bombardier's vice-president of commercial airlines, Ben Boehm, 'there hasn't been an aircraft designed for this market segment since the 1960s'. Boehm explained that airlines are now looking for new technologies and new products to fill their needs, and both Comac's and Bombardier's new aircraft will be viable contenders. The new technologies both companies would use will improve efficiency of the aircraft (and thus save money for the airlines), improve comfort for passenger and benefit the environment by introducing new engine and design technology. 'By designing an aircraft specifically for this market segment and combining that with the benefits of new technologies such as composite wings, we can commit to over 20 per cent fuel burn savings against competitors that are currently in the market,' Boehm said. 'What we will ultimately offer airlines is anywhere between 15 and 20 per cent lower cash operating costs compared to those aircraft that are flying today.' With the industry putting in so much effort to save costs, claims such as these could make the CSeries a very attractive option for airlines. Bombardier has forged close links with the mainland and currently operates seven facilities in six Chinese cities. The fuselage of the CSeries will be manufactured by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. 'A major milestone in the development of the CSeries was the recent delivery of a CSeries fuselage test barrel, made by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation,' Boehm said. 'The 20-foot long and full diameter fuselage segment will be put through a series of tests to [try out] a new kind of aluminium alloy that we will be using.' Boehm explained that the fuselage would be put through nearly two years of lifecycle testing. Neither Boeing nor Airbus were able to deliver their two latest aircraft on time, with the Dreamliner falling far behind schedule and still to take to the skies, and it could be the case that Bombardier and Comac experience similar problems with their new aircraft. Boehm said, however, that through a series of tests that will run long before the scheduled first flight, they hoped that similar delays would not be necessary. 'We believe that we have mitigated a lot of the risk areas that Boeing has shown.' He said that from the start the company has committed itself to a programme that will last more than five years, even though there is a lot of market pressure to deliver earlier. 'We are already testing some of our new technologies, such as the fuselage and the composite wings, and will have an integrated systems test area that will become operational a full year before the first flight,' Boehm said. 'This gives us a chance to test all systems before we actually need to fly. 'Taking these steps will mitigate risk and time delays, and will enable us to deliver the aircraft on schedule.'