Airbus “takes very seriously” the rise of the Chinese Comac with the C919

The Chinese manufacturer is about to put its C919 on the market, which will directly compete with the A220, A320 and Boeing 737. On BFM Business, Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, says he is “very attentive”.

We’ve been talking about it for several years. Can the Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac shake up the historical duopoly in aviation made up of the European Airbus and the American Boeing?

This prospect is now approaching since Comac has just completed the certification flights of its C919, a short-medium haul aircraft capable of carrying 168 passengers over 5500 km which will compete directly with the popular Airbus A220 and A320 and the Boeing 737. This device could be put on the market as early as next year.

Until today, Comac has only flown the ARJ21, a 70 to 90-seat twin-engine, capable of flying 3,700 km… in China only, as it does not meet the necessary conditions to fly in Europe or the United States. .

“An actor that we take very seriously”

Can the arrival of the C919 raise fears of market parts losses for the European aircraft manufacturer, particularly in China, a market that has become strategic in terms of volumes?

Guest of BFM Business this Thursday, Guillaume Faury, executive director of Airbus displays a certain serenity but absolutely does not underestimate this new adversary.

“It would seem that we are getting closer to the entry into service of Comac’s 919 and therefore, in effect, we will have a new player on the market. We have already had other attempts in the past by other manufacturers to come and shake up Airbus/Boeing competition in the short and medium haul segment. It is a player that we take very seriously”, underlines the manager.

Nevertheless, “it will take them a long time before they manage to ramp up the pace, the reliability of the aircraft to be able to be one of the three players, knowing that today it is Boeing and Airbus which largely dominate “, he continues.

The advantage of the domestic market

“The huge domestic market is a major asset for Comac, which constitutes a risk for Airbus with local companies which have multiplied orders for this C919. “They have a somewhat captive market where they will be able to start selling, put these planes into service and therefore we are going to observe very carefully what is happening with Comac” emphasizes Guillaume Faury.

For the CEO, Airbus has all the weapons to preserve his positions. “We have an American competitor who historically is very strong. Today, we passed them, it shows that things can change. We think that the best way out is to continue to invest, continue to innovate and particularly in the field of decarbonization of the sector”.

Olivier Chicheportiche Journalist BFM Business

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