SAIC is the prime Chinese contractor for the TrunkLiner co-production programme with McDonnell Douglas, under which it is assembling 20 MD-90-30s for the Chinese market at its plant in Shanghai.

Chinese industrial participation in the SAIC MD-90 programme involves three Chinese companies producing sub-assemblies - Xian Aircraft: wing and fuselage sections; Chengdu Aircraft: nose; and Shenyang Aircraft: the empennage and electrical-power systems.

China originally concluded a licensed production deal with MDC in April 1985 which ultimately resulted in some 35 MD-80s being assembled at Shanghai from kits supplied by MDC. The last aircraft was completed and delivered in October 1994. 30 of the aircraft (MD-82s) were delivered to Chinese operators, with the remaining five (MD-83s) sold back to MDC for onward sale. SAIC also has ten separate sub-assembly contracts for MD-80 components, which it supplies to Long Beach, including landing gear, cargo, service and nose-access doors, horizontal stabiliser and inboard-flap roller-box assemblies.

Plans to build an additional 20 MD-82s were scrapped in 1994, with China instead negotiating to buy an interim batch of 20 MD-90s direct from Douglas' Long Beach plant. Metal for the first SAIC-built MD-90 was cut in August 1995. Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) is conducting an intensive marketing effort to place the 20 MD-90 TrunkLiners with Chinese operators, the first of which is scheduled for completion in mid-1998. As a two-year stopgap work measure, an initial two MD-90s are being assembled in Shanghai from kits supplied by Douglas.

Development of the proposed AE-100 regional jet represents the next step in Aerospace for China. Led by AVIC), the new regional jet will be produced in China, almost certainly by SAIC, with the other state-run manufacturers in Chengdu, Shenyang and Xian supplying major subassemblies.

For aircraft details see Aviation Industries of China and McDonnell Douglas entries.

Source: Flight International