Tuesday, October 19, 2021

China aviation programme on track, but might get delayed

by Bikram Vohra

IADB: The 13-year-old project to put into the market the C919 jet from China might well be further delayed because of the tightening of export/import controls imposed by the US. Sao goes through some of the thinking. With parts for the power plants and avionics largely from the west there is expected to be more delay in getting more than six aircraft that have so far been assembled.

Boeing and Airbus cannot relax from this challenge to their single aisle fleets because the capability in China to circumnavigate the pressure from the US exists and there is no fooling oneself that they do not. The air force has just taken on the F22 with the advanced version of the J20 fighter powered by new engines made at home. A brace of twin-engine J-20s made their first public appearance at Airshow China last week were equipped with the advanced WS-10 engine and it was a very impressive exhibition of hi octane air power. if they can manufacture that it would be a doddle to make a viable engine for the C 919 and the widebody C929.

To that extent the long delayed C919 programme could well be fast tracked. China is already in the market with the ARJ21 90seater regional jet of which it has made 68 units The series based on the popular AN 24 is backed by the MA 60 series with Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) capabilities, a turboprop ideal for opening the interior with a capacity of 40 to 60 passengers.

Even though its 900-mile range is a plus point, and it can operate in rough terrain with limited ground support China has given it its own certification but never applied to the FAA or to EASA (Europe) for certification. Hence it is largely unknown as an option because it cannot fly west

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