Cloudy skies for China’s aviation industry

The Chinese-made C919 airliner lands in Shanghai after its first test flight
The first test flight of the Chinese-made C919 narrow-body airliner was not quite the coming-of-age that Beijing had hoped for in its commercial aviation industry (source: dpa)
  • The C919 airliner has laid bare shortcomings in China’s aircraft industry
  • Commercial aircraft makers will need to buy or partner to get foreign technology
  • Military aviation has also reached the limits of reverse-engineering; deep reforms are now needed

On May 5, 2017, a 167-seat passenger jet took off from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport – the first-ever flight by a Chinese-built airliner.

The C919’s maiden flight was a big moment for China’s nascent commercial air industry. The single-aisle, twin-engine aircraft, built by the Commercial Airline Corporation of China (Comac), is the first domestic answer to the world’s big-two manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, which dominate the Chinese market for large jets. The flight was also notable because the capital-intensive aircraft industry has such high barriers to entry; no country or new company has entered the market since 1969.

Not a subscriber yet?

Subscribe now and get the latest in-depth geopolitical analysis and forecasts from GIS’s unrivaled cadre of experts.

Learn more about our subscription plans.

You can also buy this report for €8.99 Buy

Add your comment