China starts a new era in the global airline industry by launching its first, homegrown jetliner. The aircraft, Comac’s C919, has 158 seats, and is designed for medium range flights. According to the LA Times it took more than a decade to plan and complete the launch of the jetliner.
The new Chinese made airplane is intended to compete with Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) 737 and the Airbus 320. The C919 is mostly based on Chinese design, however there was involvement from Western suppliers that have contributed various components, including the Leap-1C engines, and Honeywell (NYSE: HON) flight control and navigation systems.
“Designing and flying an aircraft are just part of a long road,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group, a Virginia-based aeronautics consulting firm. “The spending and probable losses are just beginning.” LA Times reported.
“Ultimately, making an entire airplane from Chinese manufactured components is probably half a century away,” said George Ferguson, senior aerospace analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, which conducts economic and industry analysis. “But this is the initial foray.”