AIRSHOW CHINA: Comac eyes half of China’s narrowbody market

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Comac is aiming to capture half of China's demand for narrowbody aircraft over the next 15 years.

The Chinese airframer is targeting to secure at least 2,000 orders for its C919 twinjet over the next 10 to 15 years, the programme's chief designer Wu Guanghui told Flightglobal Pro at Airshow China in Zhuhai. A majority of these orders will come from China.

Comac projects that China will require up to 3,000 single-aisle aircraft over the next 20 years.

"I believe the market is big enough to absorb a third manufacturer. We're thus aiming to have at least half of the Chinese market, and also to capture some of the international market," says Wu.

In its 20-year market forecast released yesterday, Comac is expecting single-aisle aircraft to account for 65.2% of the global fleet in 2031, up from the current 62.2%. Comac has so far garnered 380 commitments for the C919, the majority of which are from local airlines and leasing companies.

Wu adds that the programme is now in the detailed design phase and that the airframer is "going all out" to meet the 2014 first flight schedule.

He also revealed that Comac is studying various variants of the C919, including a stretched 180-seater version and a smaller 140-seater one. All energy and resources, however, are now focused on getting the basic model right, says Wu.

Construction of its final assembly centre, located near Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, is also on track to be completed by the end of the year. A fifth runway, which will be used to conduct flight tests for the C919, will also be built.