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Enders sees China as main challenger to Airbus-Boeing duopoly

China is the only country from which a serious competitor to Boeing and Airbus will emerge, EADS chief executive Tom Enders says.

"The entry barriers to building large commercial aircraft are high, but if one country has the financial and industrial wherewithals to join the exclusive Airbus-Boeing club, it's China," the head of Airbus's parent said at a business conference in Hamburg on November 29.

He added that EADS would be looking to make further investments in China.

"We want to be part of this incredible success story, with growing investments into Chinese industry, but also into citizenship and China's very talented and skilled people."

EADS's largest investment in China has been through its Airbus subsidiary, which has a final assembly line in Tianjin for A320 family aircraft that opened in 2006.

The facility, which is a joint venture with Chinese aviation conglomerate Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), is in the process of ramping up production to four aircraft per month by the end of the year.

China is the largest market for Boeing and Airbus, and both manufacturers expect to sell thousands of new aircraft to carriers in the country over the next 20 years.

However, the Chinese government has placed a great deal of emphasis on developing its own aircraft, including the first ones which may pose a competitive threat to Boeing and Airbus.

Chinese state-owned airframer Comac is developing the 150-seat C919 narrowbody aircraft, which will compete with the A320 family of aircraft.

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