China to challenge Boeing, Airbus dominance with newly planned C939 widebody jet

China to challenge Boeing Airbus dominance with newly planned C939 widebody jet
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NEW DELHI: China is setting the stage for further expansion into the global aerospace industry with the initiation of the C939 widebody jet project, an ambitious move following the success of the C919 narrowbody jet. This initiative by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), a state-owned aerospace manufacturer, aims to capture a more significant share of the international aviation market, a domain traditionally dominated by Western giants like Boeing and Airbus.
Comac has unveiled preliminary designs for the C939, marking the start of what will be a long and complex development process aimed at creating a competitive widebody aircraft. The new aircraft design is poised to be larger and more technologically advanced, targeting global markets with higher passenger capacities and extended ranges compared to the C919, a South China Morning Post report said.
This development comes on the heels of Comac’s ongoing C929 project, a widebody aircraft designed to compete directly with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A350. Initially a joint venture with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the C929 project has faced uncertainties following geopolitical tensions due to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. Despite these challenges, sources within the project remain optimistic. “Russia’s departure does have some impact, but we can manage that … It’s not entirely a bad thing,” a project insider said, reflecting confidence in overcoming the setbacks.
Comac’s strategy with the C939 also includes a significant focus on reducing reliance on Western technology. The corporation plans an ambitious move towards localization, aiming to produce the majority of the aircraft’s components domestically, including crucial parts like landing gear and engines. This shift is not just a stride towards technological independence but also a critical part of China’s broader industrial strategy, the SCMP report said.
As part of its vision for the future, China aspires to become the world’s largest aviation market by the 2030s or 2040s. This projection is supported by forecasts from major industry players like Airbus, Boeing, and the International Air Transport Association, which predict robust growth in the Asian aviation market. Comac’s development of aircraft like the C919 and now the C939 reflects China’s determination to carve out a substantial presence in the global aviation industry, challenging the long-standing duopoly of Boeing and Airbus and reshaping the competitive landscape.

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