Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) has agreed separate deals with Aero International (Regional) (AI(R)) and CFM International (CFMI) aimed at developing China's aerospace industry.

The deal with AI(R) involves the establishment of a joint venture to assess the possibility of assembly of ATR turboprops in China.

The talks, which have been under way for some time, were boosted this year when the sale of five ATR 72-210As, with five options, to China Xinjiang Airlines and China Aerospace Supply were announced by French president Jacques Chirac in Beijing.

The Chirac visit also yielded a deal between AI(R) partner Alenia and Xian Aircraft, covering production of ATR 72 rear fuselages, and followed an earlier agreement between Aerospatiale and the Chinese for wing-box production.

While AI(R) pursues its Chinese-assembly ambitions, the consortium has also been improving its orderbook elsewhere, principally in Europe. German regional Eurowings has agreed to purchase a further five ATR 42-500s to add to its fleet of 27 ATRs. Other customers expected to be announced at the show will take orders for the week to more than ten aircraft.

The agreement with CFMI covers formation of a "joint leadership council" which is aimed at boosting the GE Aircraft Engines/ Snecma joint venture's campaign to power the proposed AVIC/ Airbus 100-seat AE31X family.

CFMI says that the council is "-charged with fostering long-term business relationships", but admits that establishing close links between the AE31X and the CFM56-9 engine is "a key focus".

The CFM56-9, a proposed 71-98kN (16,000-22,000lb)-thrust version of the powerplant, faces competition for the project from Pratt & Whitney, offering its PW6000, and BMW Rolls-Royce, with its BR715.

"The organisation will also review potential new revenue-sharing and joint-venture opportunities", says CFMI, which adds that it has completed more than 70% of the design work on the CFM56-9, and says it is "prepared" to certificate the engine by 2000 to meet the AE31X certification requirements. The engine is being offered with solid-titanium, wide-chord fan blades, a two-stage low pressure compressor and a low-emissions combustor. CFMI is also planning extensive use of three-dimensional aerofoil technology in the high-pressure compressor and turbine to boost performance.

Source: Flight International