Germany's MTU Aero Engines has given a strong indication that it plans to play a significant role in the development of an alternative engine for the Comac C919 narrowbody airliner.
Speaking to Flightglobal Pro at the opening of MTU Maintenance's expanded Zhuhai facility, the company's president of commercial maintenance, Stefan Weingartner, confirmed that the company is actively in discussions with AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine (ACAE) to participate in its CJ-1000A engine programme. If developed, the CJ-1000A would be an alternative to the CFM International Leap-1C engine on the C919.
"We are part of the discussion, we are willing to offer them our know-how for a decent share in the programme," says Weingartner.
"It is definitely a good opportunity for MTU," he adds.
In 2011, ACAE and MTU agreed to explore ways to collaborate on the CJ-1000A, but in August this year, MTU Aero Engines chief executive Egon Behle told Flight International that the company was still deciding how it might proceed.
While some analysts have reservations that the collaboration of western manufacturers with state-owned ACEC could present intellectual property risks for western engine manufacturers, Weingartner says that as long as MTU continues with its own innovations, that risk can be minimised.
He says that this approach has meant that the transfer of repair technologies to MTU Maintenance's facility in Zhuhai has not had a great impact on the company.
"As long as we are two or three steps ahead, that is not an issue. I think it is the same for aero engines," Weingartner adds.