Airbus “takes very seriously” the rise of Chinese Comac with the C919
The Chinese manufacturer is about to launch its C919, which will compete directly with the A220, A320 and Boeing 737. Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, says that BFM Business is “very attentive”.
We’ve been talking about this for several years. Can Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac shake the historic aviation duopoly of European Airbus and American Boeing?
That prospect is drawing closer now that Comac has just completed certification flights for its C919, a short- to medium-haul aircraft capable of carrying 168 passengers over 5500 km and would compete head-to-head with the popular Airbus A220 and A320, as well as the Boeing 737. This device could be launched as early as next year.
To date, Comac has only flown the ARJ21, a twin-engined 70-90 seater that can fly 3,700km… only in China as it does not meet the conditions required to fly in Europe or the United States.
“An actor we take very seriously”
Can the arrival of the C919 raise fears of a loss of market share for the European aircraft manufacturer, particularly in China, a market that has become strategic in terms of volume?
As a guest at BFM Business this Thursday, Guillaume Faury, Executive Director of Airbus, shows a certain composure, but does not underestimate this new opponent.
“It looks like we’re getting close to Comac’s 919 entering service and will effectively have a new player on the market. In the past we have had other attempts from other manufacturers to come and shake up the competition from Airbus/Boeing in the short and medium-haul segment,” emphasizes the manager.
Despite this, “it will take a long time before they manage to increase the pace, the reliability of the aircraft, to be able to be one of the three players, knowing that today Boeing and Airbus are largely dominant,” he continues.
The advantage of the domestic market
“The huge domestic market is a great asset for Comac, which is a risk for Airbus with local companies that have multiplied orders for this C919 and that’s why we will be watching very closely what happens with Comac,” stresses Guillaume Faury.
For the CEO, Airbus has all the weapons to assert its positions. “We have an American competitor that is historically very strong. Today we overtook it, which shows that things can change. We think that the best way out is to keep investing, keep innovating and decarbonize the sector “.