The Chinese-made C919 airliner lands in Shanghai after its first test flight

Cloudy skies for China’s aviation industry

  • 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.

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 Nick Fielding
Entrenched corruption and the lack of exposure to combat conditions let many shortcomings go undetected
read more about it in the report
What's inside
  • 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
Who will benefit?
  • Report is targeted to the decision makers in cross country manufacturing – suppliers, manufacturers, logistics.
  • Also considered useful for the administrative university facilities, to better understand the possibe effects of current decisions.
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