GKN, Comac in talks to create JV for C919 horizontal stabiliser

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Aerostructures manufacturer GKN and Chinese state-owned aiframer Comac are planning the creation of a joint venture to produce composite horizontal stabilisers for the in-development C919 programme.

Marcus Bryson, chief executive of GKN Aerospace, says he is hopeful of concluding a deal within the next 12 months.

Although no decision has been taken on the location in China of any production plant, Bryson says the Shanghai region is among the frontrunners.

If the deal goes ahead it would add to the substantial amount of Western content on the CFM International Leap-1C-powered C919. Bombardier has already agreed to supply the cockpit of its CSeries regional jet to the Chinese under a collaboration the two partners set up last year. Liebherr-Aerospace, Moog, Thales and Rockwell Collins are all supplying systems for the Chinese-built jet, largely through joint ventures with Chinese companies.

Bryson adds: "The Chinese are keen on having the best and latest technology on that airframe. They want it to be seen as an aircraft that will appeal to a wider market than just China."

Comac was not immediately available to comment. It holds orders for 235 aircraft.