Passenger plane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus will soon be facing intense competition frrom China, which has one of the largest aviation markets in the world, will bring out its own passenger planes in 2017.
The high-capacity Jumbo-jets that are made to carry 200 to 800 passengers has been monopolised by Boeing's 747 and the new Airbus's A-380 aircraft.
China will soon be entering this lucrative market with its own version called the C919, which will have a capacity of 190 seats.
With a booming economy, China had wanted to enter into aircrft manufacturing and in May 2008 set up the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), based in Shanghai with an initial capital of $2.78 billion. COMAC's largets shareholder is the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
China has already finished with the preliminary technical design plan and commercial feasibility study and the Jumbo passenger jet project has 47 local institutions as well as those from abroad for the procurement of supplies and materials including engines.
The projects chief designer and deputy manager of COMAC, Wu Guanghui said at the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing that C represents China as well as COMAC, the abbreviation for Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd and the first '9' of the C919 means 'forever' in Chinese culture, while '19' stands for the 190 seats on the Jumbo jet.
He also added that the suppliers of engines, airborne equipment, and materials will be chosen through an international bidding and China will prefer foreign suppliers to form a joint venture with Chinese manufacturers but at the same time COMAC will do independent research and manufacturing.
Although China will take the lead in solving the technical problems, it will also use international resources and expertise in design, integration and final assembly.
In the next 20 years, China's passenger aircraft requirement is expected to triple to approximately 3,000 new passenger planes worth nearly $329 billion, according to industry experts and by manufacturing these Jumbo jets locally, it will also save on foreign exchange.
China's Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Factory is also manufacturing the twin-engine ARJ21-700, the country's first local jet with a capacity of 70 to 95 passengers as well as the ARJ21-900, which will have a capacity of 95 to 105 passengers.
The ARJ21-700 has a maximum range of 3,700 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 11,900 meters.
The ARJ21 project was first started in 2002 under the country's 10th five-year plan with the help of 15 European and US aerospace components suppliers, including General Electric for engines, Honeywell for Fly-By-Wire system and Rockwell Collins for avionics.
The main body of the aircraft will be made by AVICI Commercial Aircraft Co Ltd while component factories in Chengdu, Xi'an and Shenyang will make wings and other parts.
China claims that it has already received 208 orders for the 90-seat jet both from domestic and overseas buyers, including GE Commercial Aviation Service, which has placed an order for 25 planes worth 5 billion yuan.
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China has said that there would be a big demand for these planes locally as these small jets are fuel efficient on shorter routes and said Chinese airlines will need new 2,822 jumbo jets and 993 regional jets from 2008 to 2027.